Back to work

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 by mecklin21

Hey guys and gals, I’m back! I know that I have not done much on this blog, and that is rather unfortunate. As summer came ,life twisted into a busy schedule. I was hoping to have a lot of time to spend on this blog, but other adventures happened. I spent a week backpacking in Yosemite, stayed a week in South Carolina, had my first trip to Los Angeles, and much more. School is starting, and that means I should be more available to post,also Gamescon is this week so you should hear more from me in the coming days.

Hope your summers were adventurous as mine was!

Mecklin out

Trends in game pre-orders

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by mecklin21

Today I picked up my copy of Ghost Recon and they asked me if I wanted to per-order the DLC for the game. Oh by that way they announced some downloadable content about 2 weeks ago a couple of maps and some weapons. Back to my point per-order downloadable content? It is one thing to per-order a game, otherwise you might not get a copy(at least that is how it used to be).  A few years back I remember per-ordering a game in order to make sure that they would not run out, or to let Gamestop know how many copies to buy. A game like Halo 2 was bound to sell out back then. Today though copies are overstocked it seems.  Downloadable content is on a server and is infinite. Wouldn’t it be more of a hassle to go to Gamestop and pick up the code  than to turn on your Xbox and download it?  I had heard about this a little while back, but it did not really hit me until I was asked today. I thought it was pretty lame at the time.  I still do, truth be told.

These days,  pre-order games have incentives such as a weapon, mission, or other special downloadable content to entice the buyer. My friend  says that in the next couple years it will be ,”Pre-order the game to get your ending”  I think that is what happened to those who bought Mass Effect 3, so now they have to wait until summer to get their ending. Any who I hope that my friend is wrong…but it would not surprise me in the least.

So what do you think about the pere-order madness?

Thoughts on the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Beta

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by mecklin21

The Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Beta ended a little more than a week ago and I’m just going to go over what I thought about, and what I’m looking forward to. Oh and the game comes out tomorrow so I am trying to remind you (as subtle as you know I am).

There are three classes one can play as in the multi-player beta for the game: Rifleman, Scout, and Engineer. All of the classes have their neat weapons and specialties. I mainly played as the Rifleman, because I personally love Heavy Machine Guns. I have tried all of the classes and that one happens to be my favorite.  He doesn’t really have any special abilities, unless you consider having a large arsenal of Heavy Machine Guns and Assault Rifles special. I had my heavy machine gun perfectly modified so it would have very little recoil and a heck of a lot of control so I was constantly mowing people down….it was AWESOME!

The Engineer is my second favorite class. The engineer has sub-machine guns and shotguns to play with. I preferred the use of  the shotgun, because I merely like to point in the general direction and hope for the best, which is hopefully their demise. I am not a perfectionist that needs to line up shots with any accuracy, dead is dead as far as I am concerned. Additionally, the Engineer has a neat drone that you can throw into the air and control to spot enemies. They will show up as a red outline to your allies..(which is very helpful to you)…or if you are spotted it usually means a guaranteed death. He also has sensor grenades, which you can lob anywhere and will outline any hostile in the area.  Again very good if you are using it, a pain in the ass if it used against you. I tend to play as him about 25% of time.  The shotguns are pretty good, and one of the upgrades in Gunsmith (which I will mention later in this article) are Stun Rounds. For those of you who did not play the beta, let me describe to you stunning someone. You can have a small single dart E.M.P. stun gun..thing. It is a single shot, and if you hit someone they immediately go down and are available to hacking. You can hack anyone who is incapacitated and if they are successfully hacked then anyone in their squad, who is alive at the time, is permanently outlined in red until they are dead, which is guaranteed due to you being lit up like a Christmas Tree. Back to my point on Stun rounds. In one of the matches I was playing in, an engineer had an ammo upgrade in which you can have stun rounds, which means any round that hits you means you are incapacitated. That was extremely annoying to be hit by. While normal bullets usually take a few to kill you there is something like a 50% chance of being stunned by a single stun round. Meaning that the engineer with the Shotgun, with stun rounds, was dominating my squad. I can’t wait until I can get that upgrade in the full game.

Next, there was the scout class. He had a few cool things, such as being able to turn invisible ,but I just couldn’t get into it. Don’t get me wrong,  there were some people who were awesome scouts lining up sniper shots and using their invisibility to their advantage, but it just wasn’t for me. I admit, I had fun sitting around thinking ,”I’m invisible and I’m awesome”, though usually I really wasn’t.  For some reason the sniper thing just wasn’t clicking with me in this beta.  Who knows?  I’ll give it a try when the game comes out and when I progress, i’ll get some more cool gadgets and I will probably really enjoy it. For now,  it wasn’t my cup of tea. To each his own.  I’m sure the rest of you recon folks will enjoy it.

Lastly, let me tell you about Gunsmith. If you are familiar with Army of Two: The 40th Day’s gun customizer then you already have an idea of Gunsmith. If you haven’t, then this is probably a new skill for you. Gunsmith takes that same idea of taking any gun you want and getting it to your specs. Gunsmith gives you a couple more types of customization. Some of my favorites being changing the trigger from three round burst to semi-auto and fully auto. The coolest part is that you can test your gun in the firing range and also test parts in the range before you spend an attachment point. Basically it is a point that is earned with every level up of that class. Each of those points then can be spent on an attachment for any weapon. There is also supposed to be a Kinect function that allows you to use voice customization as well as hand gestures to customize your weapon. Allegedly , you can actually shoot using your hand, (only at the gunsmith range),  but hey lets see what works. If it works,  maybe some actual Kinect shooters may pop up.

There were two game mode in the beta, Conflict, and Saboteur. Conflict involved random objectives popping up on the map and you and your team were tasked with attempting to accomplish them. These tasks ranged anywhere from “don’t let the enemy take out this E.M.P.  that is charging” , to getting to a resupply point and actually being able to use it, or one of my favorites,  which was  “randomly designating a player as a high Value target to eliminate as well as showing  that particular player’s location on the map”. Basically the entire team would saunter forth to kill this single person.  Generally, I found it to be  a lot of fun having your team defend this one person while the other would try to kill them.  Of the two , Conflict was my favorite.

Saboteur was still a good deal of fun. The objective is to deliver a bomb to an enemy base without getting your “delivery boy” (or girl)  killed in the process. Thing is, there is one bomb on the field and both teams want it to blow up the other. It is pretty fun, very reminiscent of Griff Ball if you happen to have ever played a small game called HALO.  Both teams are playing tag with the bomb. One team will have the bomb, get close and then get killed. Then the other team will get the bomb and get close. Rinse and repeat. If you have a very good team though you can easily mow through the other team and plant the bomb.

Whew, I am feeling long winded today….

Now down to the maps. There were two maps,  Pipeline and Mill. I personally liked both of them. Mill takes place in the vicinity of….. a lumber mill, duh. It has some building ruins and some trees as well, which make it really easy for scouts to blend in. Don’t worry others can lay in wait as well.  Scout’s just have it the easiest since they have invisibility,which activates after staying still for  a few seconds.  It seems really easy to move around and transition to different areas of the map with less chance of being fired upon.

Pipeline is a very nice map as well, just …a bit…different . While Mill is very open and attacks can be launched from everywhere, Pipeline is a little more straight forward and smaller than Mill. This means that your team needs to work a little more together in order to deal with the attackers. Both maps are very good and are easy to work with as a  team, similar to most Battlefield ™ maps. If the rest of the maps are similar to this, then the multiplayer looks to be shaping up pretty well.

Overall I liked the beta. The multiplayer was very well set up and enjoyable. I felt compelled to level up and get my weapons to the different specs as well as unlock the other cool futuristic technologies that might exist in this game.

A few last minute things if your still reading this. The game is out tomorrow so be sure to get it! Also I found this video the other day, a live action, short film titled Ghost Recon Future Soldier Alpha. It is 23 minutes, so not too short, but not something you have to spend $14 dollars on and buy a soda and a popcorn. . You can either watch it through the Youtube link I have provided or download it to your Xbox using the link at the bottom. Oh and there is also a trailer for Gunsmith, though it is pretty cheesy it is entertaining.

http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/TCs-Ghost-Recon-Alpha-The-Movie/28662e88-ea64-41ce-b120-5945fdcec531

P.S. I also just found this launch trailer for you to watch as well. Too many videos … I understand too much awesome information can be hard to handle at times.

Portal 2 Perpetual Initiative

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by mecklin21

I tried to post this last night, but I had shot a video that shows how the editor works, and tried editing the video, but the gameplay wasn’t working. So I tried to upload this video this morning but WordPress wasn’t letting me upload it. Basically pretend I posted this last night as opposed to this morning.

Well yesterday was the release of the Perpetual Initiative for Portal 2. What that means is that the Steam Workshop is part of Portal 2. In addition,  an extremely simplified map editor is out as well. When I say simple I mean simple. It gives you a basic cube test chamber and from there you can edit it. You literally highlight any area and hit the – or + to expand or bring in the area of the room. Also to add certain elements you can drag different items, such as buttons, turrets, and aerial plates, from the left side (in a window) and put them on the map. You can easily test the map out by hitting the Tab key. If you make adjustments after you test it you need to hit F9 for the test chamber to rebuild. Note, these are not permanent changes but are merely for testing out your creation, if you truly want to save your creation,  go to the top left area and click save.  Overall it is pretty easy and fun to use. Oh! By the way when making your puzzle make sure to put the little observation windows throughout your room. For some reason that is the only light source, without those it is pitch black.

The community has been hard at work and has already put a large chunk of maps on the workshop.Let me put this into perspective, the Skyrim workshop, which has been out for a few months now has about 7,000 items. When I launched the Portal 2 Workshop yesterday afternoon it had 8,000 items. As of right now the Portal 2 workshop has 27,000 items!!! I haven’t played too many yet but right now my favorite little set is a collection of maps called the 12 Angry Tests by CaretCaret. They are pretty challenging and are very well done. Another one I like, is called Aerial Plates. Though it is not really a puzzle it is a fun little map to load up. Overall I think this will add a much needed new life to this game. I had been waiting and waiting (did I say waiting) for Valve to release new maps but I personally think that this is better.  The community will always be putting out maps, and there will always be a new good batch of creative ones.  In a few months I am sure there will be some extremely awesome maps up as well as some tips and tricks for the map editor.

Down below is a trailer for the Perpetual Testing Initiative as well as links to the maps I was talking about.

http://steamcommunity.com/id/CaretCaret/myworkshopfiles/?appid=620

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=68510114&searchtext=

Notice partway through the video, when some of the people are working on the computers. One of them has what looks like fire  and Team Fortress 2 on his computer. There is a lot of speculation right now that that is Meet the Pyro. It sounds like something Valve would do, but who knows?

P.S. I tried to shoot a video on how the editor works, but for some reason I can’t upload it to WordPress. Oh well.

The Future is “in”

Posted in Rumors and Speculation with tags , , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by mecklin21

It’s offical! Future warefare is the new “in” thing. The other day Call of Duty Black Op II was offically announced with a new trailer. The game is going to be mainly taking place in the year 2025. You can bet that when Call of Duty jumps on the bandwagon…so will everyone else. The Battlefield series was ahead of it’s time with Battlefield 2142. I would say one of the first real future warfare gamesd made by a bigger company. I will admit that I have never played the game, but it was one of the first future warfare fps game made by a big studio(that I can remember).  Battlefield 2 came out in 2005 but modern warfares didn’t become huge until 2007 when Call of Duty switched to the present day scenario.

Now that Call of Duty has jumped on the future bandwagon, I feel as though there will be a definite shift in the gaming industry towards Future Warfare. Oh I don’t mean that present day warfare will be abandoned, I am merely saying that I predict that future warfare might become more popular in the gaming industry.I am just trying predict based on what happened a few years ago based on Battlefield and the Call of Duty idea. Also further helping my case is the recent  popularity of Ghost Recon Future Soldier,(which I will talk about my impressions with the beta in the near future).

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and Chernobyl Day!

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , , on May 4, 2012 by mecklin21

Well,  last Monday, April 26,was the 26 anniversary of the Chernobyl incident. For those of you who don’t know what the Chernobyl incident was, in th emiddle of the night  near the town of Prypyat  Reactor Number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant in the Ukraine had a meltdown. The reactor went kaput at 2:04 in the morning. Later the citizens of the nearby city of Pripyat were evacuated from the area. The evacuees were told to leave everything behind and only take what they had on them. Due to the meltdown a 30 Km exclusion zone has been made in order to keep people out of the area due to radioactive contamination.

In order to stop the reactor from leaking a concrete structure was built around the reactor, now known as “the sarcophagus”. The Russian military was used to build the sarcophagus and many of the soldiers that participated died. Many were asked if they wanted to serve in the military for a few years or a few minutes in the contaminated area cleaning it up. Most chose a few minutes, not realizing that they were guaranteeing themselves a shorter life.

The video game series S.T.A.L.K.E.R. , takes place in the Chernobyl zone. The idea behind it is that, due to the radiation many of the Zone’s inhabitants (ie. animals), have mutated as well as the landscape. Different “natural” hazards also existc alled anomalies, such as fire spurts,  moving electricity areas and a bunch of other things. From these anomalies  items called artifacts are created. An artifact is basically a piece of material that has certain properties such as health regeneration, radiation reducing,  and other sorts of effects. Outside the zone they sell for lots of cash. From there people who are feeling adventurous or hoping to make a lot of money come into the zone.  They are called Stalkers, why I do not know. Personally I think that the russian game studio GSC just thought that it sounded cool.

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game series is solely available as on Pc only. There are plans for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 to potentially move to Xbox 360 eventually. The game is a First Person Shooter, with some RPGish elements, such as having a load of quests and an open world to run amuck in. The world of Chernobyl is beautifully created and is on par with those of Bioshock and Oblivion, where the areas are wonderfully crafted with detail and can almost seem believable when you have been playing it for enough. The team making the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games actually went into the Zone of Alientation and took many pictures in order to recreate The Zone to a T.

Personally,  I like to play these game a few times a month, even though I have beaten them quite a few times. The modding community is alive and well, and quite frankly awesome. While Bethesda games have a lot of mods, not many are really big.  Nearly all of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series have HUGE game changing mods and overhauls. My favorites are the ones that improve the Graphics drastically, making these slightly older games still on par with most modern games.

The way the zone works as a whole is really neat with all of the factions battling it out for domination as well as having to hold out against the Mutant hordes. Personally the mutants are some of my favorite creatures from most video games . One of my all time favorites, and my most feared, is one called the blookdsucker. Basically it is this fast moving scary monster that can turn invisible and breathes heavy..so you can hear it running all around you (before it kills you).  If you think that it isn’t scary, that merely means that you have never faced one.

There are many more monsters than just this one that are memorable, but this is my favorite. Overall I have to say that if you are into First Person Shooters, Open Worlds, and any kind of RPGs, then this is for you. The titles of the games are S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl,S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat. They are all pretty good games and I listed them in order of them coming out, so you should play them in that order. You can find the games pretty cheap, less than $20, and I know Steam has had a sale in the past in which you could buy them all for $10. Next time you see one of them at a good price I recommend you pick one up. Heck even if it is not on sale I still suggest that you pick it up. It is definaltey a worthy investment that can get you many hours of enjoyment.

Activating Your Skyrim Kinect

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 2, 2012 by mecklin21

Well,  I don’t know how many of you had trouble activating your Skyrim Kinect yesterday, I know I did. When I first turned on my Xbox 360 yesterday I received a 34Mb update and I was surprised and glad that the Kinect Patch had finally arrived. Oddly,  at the main menu there was no notification that there was anything special to do with activating  Kinect. Nothing pertaining to how to use it, or where to go to figure out how to use it.  I thought that was odd, but figured that once I got in-game that something would pop up. Yup, you guessed it, nothing did.

Enthusiasticaly I was back in the world of Skyrim. Much to the surprise of my dog, I started randomly yelling at my Kinect hoping that something would magically happen. When nothing happened I went on the internet to look at Bethesda’s guide to voice commands and I noted that I needed to hold the right bumper in order to do dragon shouts. I went back to my game, started holding the right bumper and started yelling FUS RO DAH. Nothing happened. I began to wonder if the Kinect update really came out or if my Kinect was malfunctioning.

Eventually I noticed on one of the loading screens, a notification regarding Kinect being there, and confirming that the Kinect patch did indeed come out. I know had further proof  it was there somewhere. This time,  I checked the setting section of Skyrim. In the Gameplay section was a new little (tiny) addition that asked if I wanted to turn on Kinect commands. Hell Yeah I did! I turned those on, and  I then had to re-calibrate my Kinect for some new voice commands. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to try out the commands yet (since it took longer than I thought to get them working), and see how they work. Hopefully in the near future I will though.

If you take anything out of this, it should be:  go to settings , then gameplay,  and tell it to turn on Kinect commands. Hopefully I save you some of the trouble I went through. Below is a link Bethesda’s guide to the Kinect commands.

http://cdnstatic.bethsoft.com/akqacms/files/tes/extras/skyrim-kinect-voice-commands.pdf

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