January 29, 2012

Why the next Xbox console does actually need discs! For Now....

January 27, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Concept Art

Thessia concept art mass effect
Thessia, homeworld of the Asari

Here's some sweet Mass Effect 3 concept art that I found at the official Bioware site. Featuring some landscapes, space ships and a Krogan, it looks like some real awesome design work has gone into the game.


A crashed (?) Turian ship on Tuchanka
krogan artwork
Meet the Krogan

Cerberus Centurion trooper
Here's a Cerberus Centurion trooper

January 25, 2012

Adrienne Curry as Princess Leia from ROTJ

Adrianne Curry as Princess Leia

Top Model and gaming fanatic Adrienne Curry loves to dress up as her favourite characters - she's done the Wonder Woman and the Silk Spectre - here's Curry as the 'Slave Princess Leia' from The Return of the Jedi movie. Some one get Adrienne into a sci-fi movie asap!

Why not allowing second hand games to run on the new Xbox would be plain wrong.

Why not allowing second hand games to run on the new Xbox console would be plain wrong. 

Kotaku is suggesting that the new version of the Xbox will potentially not allow used or second hand games to be played on the console. While closed units and IPR rights and DRM is all the rage in some quarters, it would seem to be a shitty move by Microsoft if they are trying to stamp out trading in second hand games .

Their motive of course would be enourage the purchase of new games either off the shelf from bonafide retailers or by download through the XBL service (which also would encourage the purchase of gold XBL member accounts).

And that’s fine. Microsoft is there to make money.

Publishers are there to make money too. That’s why you have to pay for DLC – and if DLC is free, you can be sure that there’s a marketing incentive behind it (such as goodwill to fans to keep a community active etc). 

What I do not like is Microsoft’s attempt to thwart something that is perfectly legal – in NZ where I live for instance, it is perfectly legal to sell second hand software. In the form of an Xbox game, it is absolutely legal to sell your copy of Halo 3 to the kid down the street.

Arguments about raising revenue aside, there should be no other reason to prevent such a transaction from occurring if it's a genuinely legal activity.

All this huffing and puffing is of course only a short term concern as it's bloody obvious we're heading to a 'download' only gaming world - it's just hard to say how long it will take us to get there? NZ is soooo far behind in the internet world we still have very low data caps so downloading full games is out of the question.

In the end, I suspect Kotaku's sources will be full of crap and if there is some kind of intiative, it will be more along the lines of tying a game to an account in some fashion. The mind boggles.

What's your view? Should Microsoft block second hand games from running on the new Xbox console?

January 24, 2012

Did you hear about the Kantus and the Hammer of Dawn?

Did you hear about the Kantus and the Hammer of Dawn?

How you played Gears of War 3 on Insane mode and got completely rooted by those Armoured Kantus soldiers you come across in Act 4?

Those guys are tough as titanium encrusted titanium. They make Skorge look like General Raam. And then there’s that electric worm that zaps you to contend with. What’s the best way of dealing with these Kantus Clowns?

I was doing an Insane mode run through and I came across a Hammer of Dawn at the point where Marcus and Co are trying to manoeuvre the crane to get fuel for the submarine – and I thought to myself, I won’t use it for this next salvo of Repears, I’ll save it for the Kantus guards.

And sure enough, the Hammer of Dawn works on the Kantus. They need to take a fair whack from it though, a quick douse with it is not enough, you need to laser the shit out of them. The Hammer of Dawn is generally good for about two Kantus kills. It only works in the spots where there's enough sunlight.

A good trick is to try and take that first Kantus out asap – hide behind a block until he is distracted by your squad mates and then let him have it as he moves to the right (if he starts the set piece coming straight for you, you're probably fucked).

You can then pick off the other bugs that escort the 2ndKantas or take him out from a distance. That’s the easy part. The next round involve another Kantus, some offsiders and the electrical eel / cerepod / worm thing – work on the eel as much as you can but don’t let him get to close or you’re a dead man. Shoot their tail off from the back and remember they move real damn quick and quietly....

A hint is to try and take him out away from the Kantus so you don’t get any fire from then. Easier said than done too. 

Using the Hammer of Dawn will only get you so far however so here's some other tricks to taking down and defeating the Kantus:

For a start, lets hope you followed my guide on arming your squad with the boomshot. Explosives trip up the Prickly Priests so the boom shot comes in handy. Indeed, there's one laying about on the opposite side from where the frag grenade and well placed ammo supply are. So when your Hammer juice is all used up, switch weapons to the Boomshot to take them down. Consider aiming at their feet so you don't miss them but do not fire from close range or you will likely kill yourself.

A well placed torque bow will down a Kantus as well.

When a Kantus gets up after a boomshot, bow strike or frag grenade explosion, they begin to scream blue murder and also glow yellow with rage. That's your chance to put some lancer bullets in their face to wear them down for the kill - or put a bow in their face. Do try it...

Word on the street for the fearless player is you can also tag a Kantus with a frag grenade for an instant kill. I haven't tried that one myself yet... that's only for the brave (or stupid - Ed.)

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January 13, 2012

How to get the Bandana Skull in Halo Anniversary

How to get the Bandana Skull without grenade jumping - by using the warthog! This is a sweet video tutorial eh?

January 9, 2012

Keeping abreast of Elizabeth in Bioshock: Infinite

elizabeth in game in bioshock infinite

According to Ken Levine, whose team at Irrational Games are developing the new Bioshock Infinite game, fan boys are way too obsessed with main character Elizabeth's breast size.

That's right.

He recently talked to OXM and revealed this thought about the mammary issue "in terms of her body type, I think certainly people on the Internet have spent way more time thinking about Elizabeth's chest than I have. It's something I've barely thought about."

Note he said barely. Which is an interesting choice of word if you think about it. He also thus admits he DID at least think about Elizabeth's breast size.

I bet the designers put a lot of thought into their size though. You can imagine them going "Not too much.... a good hand full at least, be tasteful but titillate...."

Levine said "It's disappointing when appearance becomes a focus for conversation, because that was never my intent and it's sort of a disincentive. I'd much rather talk about what she's going through as a person, but whatever. They have the right to shout out whatever they want."

This amuses me greatly as the championing a female character's assets has become the thing to do in the gaming industry. Cortana from Halo, Miranda and co from Mass Effect, Bayonetta and a whole host of other female leads have their boobs emphasised. Not to forget a whole legion of characters from the Final Fantasy series.

Beauty is where you find it and Levine has this to say:

"To me, the most important thing with Elizabeth was just honestly her eyes because, you know, they're somewhat exaggerated and the reason for that is because there's so much expression you can do there, with her eyes, and you see her often at a great distance".

Stop digging bro, stop digging.

January 7, 2012

Tip: How to use the Boomshot on Gears of War 3

The Boomshot
Boooooom! say the Boomers on Gears of War 3 - it's their signal to you that a massive bomb blast is headed in your direction - time to duck into some cover and return fire with your lancer right?

If you are playing Gears of War on its notoriously difficult Insane Mode you may not be so keen to take on a Boomer or Drudge with simply a lancer rifle. You might want to soften them up with a grenade first - or you could get one of you squad members to do your dirty work for you!

The trick is to arm your squad member with some heavy firepower - that way you can utilise their special ability of unlimited ammo - so for instance if you load all three squad members up with the boom-shot there's a good chance during a fire fight at least one of them will chose to use the boomshot and increase the damage dealt out to the lambent horde!

I'd recommend that everytime you get a chance to pick up the boomshot during a campaign session you should do so and then immediately give it to an A.I. team mate. So every time you fell a Boomer, take their weapon and do the weapon swap. Also there's plenty of times you come across a handy weapons cache so stock up then too - you can kit out your entire squad at the times!

How to give you team mates the boomshot:

1. To exchange weapons or share ammo in any mode, move within close range of a squad mate.

2. Aim at said squadmate with the Left Trigger button and press [Y] to share ammo

3. [X] to swap your primary weapon or [A] to swap your secondary weapon.

4. Pistols and grenades may not be swapped...

Obviously you can swap any weapons you like, it doesn't have to be the boomshot - however on insane mode I think having your A.I. driven squad mates of having the option to use it increases you own chance of survival - some of the set pieces in GOW3 can be absolutely brutal so why not up your odds of making it through?

Using the boomshot effectively is also an art in itself. While you can use the reticle turning red as a rough guide that you have an accurate shot lined up, for further distances you may need to lead the shot a bit, or estimate  the angle you'll fire at - the boomshot's projectiles fall over time so you may need to aim higher than you think. 

Be wary of using the boomshot at very close quarters - you're likely to blow yourself up!

Want more? Here's a tip on taking down the Armoured Kantus with the Hammer of Dawn.

January 2, 2012

Tips about using ammo in Gears of War 3

Tips about using ammo in Gears of War 3

So like I got horribly stuck somewhere on Act III of Gears this weekend. It's just before you to get the cable car / gondala tower and a giant stalk comes up of the ground with a whole lot of lambents and drudges and the those fucking little dog / wretch like things that sneak up on you like no one business. Insane Mode, it's a bitch.

I kept dying as I ran out of ammunition. So low on ammo and with no hope of getting through solely by chainsawing (what is the best oil for a chain bar?) the guts out of my foes alone, I finally remembered to use the 'weapon swap' feature with my comrades Anya, Jace and that really annoying one. It worked a treat - I had that extra few bullets that I needed to hold out againt the bastards and finally got past after some trial and error.

Some hints about using ammo

  • Try and stock up on ammo before you get to the next check point
  • Use the Weapon Swap function as need be
  • You can swap like with like (they may have more ammo in the same weapon)
  • You can hand over an empty weapon too
  • In a tight spot, you still should pick up ammo - pick you moment though!
  • In a tight spot, if you can do it without dying, weapon swap - but be wise in your selection, don't take the sawn off shot gun for example if you're in a long range gun fight. 

A good tactical trick is to arm your Gears squad mates with Boomshots as well, especially on Insane Mode. It's a trick I learnt in Halo - arm your soldiers with the rockets and they had unlimited ammo - it stands to reason this should work in Gears of War 3. Every so often you come across a weapons cache - that's your chance to load up the boom shots....

In case you don't know how to swap weapons in Gears 3 here's the official way:

1. To exchange weapons or share ammo in any mode, move within close range of a squad mate.
2. Aim at that squadmate with [Left Trigger] and press [Y] to share ammo

3. [X] to swap your primary weapon or [A] to swap your secondary weapon. 

4. Pistols and grenades may not be swapped...