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10761  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: November 12, 2007, 08:20:34 PM
How's the chat system these days? It was a real mess when I was in it. But looking at some latest screenshots they seem to have added some tabs and other UI tweaks (it just felt far too command-line-fixated for me, though I know "old school" players are content with that).

I was thinking I might ask for this for Xmas. By then I might be gone from LOTORO and be MMO-less, and the games devouring my time right now might've loosened their hooks a bit.  icon_biggrin
10762  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 12, 2007, 06:31:27 PM
1UP wasn't so keen on this (6/10). I don't think the game's as unfair as the reviewer paints it as, but perhaps he's playing it on a tougher difficultysetting than I. I do think if they labeled what waypoints are in fact save checkpoints and what aren't, that would save some frustration over checkpoint pacing. I think once you realize which ones are save checkpoints, you can make decisions about when it's a good time to work over to one.

There are various scripted sequences (usually after a checkpoint save) where a few soldiers are sent into the area. Sometimes they are sent in pretty aggressively and you basically have to defend an area through a wave or two, but as along as you've got decent cover and your flanks protected, you should be OK. smile

Other times they are sent into the area more subtlely, and you just need to take your time taking them out or working around them to the next waypoint, objective or extraction point. I've only had maybe one or two times in 4 missions where troops showed up unexpectedly behind me. I like the unpredictability, and then it also pays to keep at least one troop set on "field of fire" behind you. I could see someone not liking that though -- sort of how people have mixed opinions about enemies "respawning" in some RPGs/hack'n'slashes when you've cleared out an area.
10763  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 12, 2007, 06:09:38 PM
I re-did the tutorial yesterday cause I wasn't quite understanding the "move while covered" orders.

The squad members and health meters are always shown vertically in the lower right corner. The top two comprise (I think) Able team, the lower two comprise Bravo team. You can "swap" individuals if you decide mid-mission that you'd prefer to pair up different soldiers, it seems.

Although I haven't used the "move while covered" stuff, it seems to work this way:
-While you have Able team selected, move the skimmer to where you want Bravo team to move [the idea being Able will cover them as they move]. I found this a bit confusing, so it helps to do it in the tutorial a few times.
-Press "circle" button for the orders menu.
-Choose "Bravo Team Move With Cover" (something like that - I can't seem to find a screenshot with the movement orders list at the moment)
-Bravo Team will move to the skimmer point, while Able company provides covering fire [I'm not certain, but I guess this set it so Ablefires on anything that starts firing on Bravo team] if any surprises pop up.

There's probably not much point in using this command during more stealthy missions. If you need to pull one team out of the fire, so to speak, it can be handy.
You can certainly configure the four troops anyway you want (you can have 4 snipers, or 4 heavy machine gunners, and probably have a lot of success, but I find it's a little more fun to have some variety, and pour the skill points into one or two weapon types for each soldier).

I've generally made Able have a sniper (who uses SMG automatically when not taking sniper shots) and an assault rifle guy. Bravo is usually heavy machine gunner and an assault rifle guy. I try to make sure each team (pair) has at least one medkit pack (2 uses) and at least one set of HE grenades (2 uses). If you only have one sniper, be sure to give him the "extra sniper ammo" kit (allows about 16 shots total).

At the lower difficulty settings at least, ammo seems quite plentiful for the assault rifles and HMGs, so I have't felt much need to bring extra regular ammo (If they run out, they will switch to their backup SMG automatically -- or, you can pick up a rifle off dead mercs).

I've been pretty happy with the Swiss assault rifles that you unlock after a couple missions but there are tons to choose from (even an old M-1 Garand is unlocked eventually).
10764  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone else getting tired of the bugs in Hellgate London? on: November 12, 2007, 05:34:45 PM
Oh, ha, I guess I got confused on that too because it almost looks like all the wall textures have failed to load properly so I too thought it was a bug. I don't recall getting a helmet with a light on it, I probably was in too much of a rush to sell it.  icon_biggrin
10765  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Games Finished in 2007 - Console & PC on: November 12, 2007, 04:01:38 PM
Medal of Honor: Airborne (PC).
-Finished that SOB finally!!!!!! *guttural scream of victory* icon_twisted
I never uninstalled a game so fast (about 5 minutes after watching the closing credits).
In the finale, just remember to climb the ladder onto the little fuel tank to get an angle on those Germans above you. It'll make sense if you get that far in the game.  icon_smile
10766  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: gow: chains of olympus demo on: November 12, 2007, 03:59:39 PM
I'd like to believe that when this gets closer to release (about February 2008 is the current release date), they'll make a downloadable demo available officially.

I'm hoping this'll become a real system seller for PSP even though my heart is more into more strategy-type stuff (actiony stuff is a little clumsy to do well on the PSP's single thumbstick-config but it really just requires devs to give some careful thought to control set ups, optional configurations).

I feel stupid btw. I swear I'm registered at Playstation Underground but apparently it was just for their forums and not as an actual member (and demos like these are the key perks).
10767  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 12, 2007, 02:08:17 PM
It took some digging, but I found the official U.S. forums for this at:

Thought I am on call for any questions here. smile

Some bits:

Difficulty Settings
-It has 4 difficulty settings. To be honest, I don't remember choosing one when I started up my campaign so I'm not sure what difficulty I'm playing on. I'm thinking maybe it defaults to "Lieutenant" and that I just didn't see the setting cause I was eager to play. smile

-Ensign (easiest)

-Admiral (this is toughest, and you "unlock" it by completing at Commander difficulty)

Instant Action
Completing a mission (the campaign has 9 missions -- the first one is relatively short but after that they are pretty massive things) unlocks two "action missions" on parts of each mission map. On the first one, it's just a couple different "defend this area" mission where the AI sends in lots of mercs and you battle them off.
10768  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (11/12) on: November 12, 2007, 01:44:06 PM
Panzer Tactics DS, which is belatedly now in full stock at most Gamestops (and hopefully other chains too now). smile
10769  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone else getting tired of the bugs in Hellgate London? on: November 12, 2007, 01:41:58 PM
It's getting less buggy, albeit at a sloth-like pace. I still have to start the multiplayer client twice (the first time you just see it as a "process" in the alt-tab task menu but it otherwise does nothing) to get it to run -- it used to be 3 times, I guess that's progress.  icon_confused

And whenever I do co-op, we always get separated if we enter a door into a new zone (very tiresome bug).

And I constantly get stuck on vehicles in the environments (best off steering clear of them). The "/stuck" command is handy but it seems to just teleport you back to the start of the zone (sometimes a loooong way from where you got stuck).

I'm just voting with my dollars (I'm not subscribing until the bugs list is shorter than the features list  Tongue), but I do quite enjoy the game in spite of everything.
10770  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect Impressions on: November 12, 2007, 04:38:24 AM

Quote from: Turtle on November 11, 2007, 11:35:59 PM

Gah, so it looks out they did take out the pause and issue orders with a detached camera mode.  What a loss, that could have made the game a lot more tactical and teammates more useful.  Plus, people don't have to use it, but it would have been nice for people who arne't good at shooters, but are very good at commanding.

Why oh why do all these big 360 games simplify themselves towards the shooter mechanics?
I'm interloping (don't have a 360 but have been reading about this). My understanding (see Gamespot's late October hands-on preview from Bioware's offices:;title;1) is you can play it as a third person shooter *or* you can play it more like KOTOR, using the right bumper to pause the action, give orders and then see how things play out. I would be baffled if Bioware yanked that feature out of the game weeks before it went gold. smile

From Gamespot:
Quote from: Gamespot Sept. 17
Hitting the right bumper lets you pause the action and strategically coordinate your squad's attacks, whether they are physical or biotic. Once you target your enemies and assign your attacks using the game's easy-to-grasp combat wheel, you release the bumper then watch it all play out.

Though the pause feature can be used repeatedly, you can also choose to battle in real-time fashion, third-person-shooter style, if you're not big on planning. It's not the most efficient road to success, but it's possible to play through what appears to be a good chunk of encounters. We came to appreciate both ways to fight because some enemies could be easily dealt with via some old-fashioned shooting, while others required coordinated attacks mixing firearms and biotic powers.
The official site also describes it as such (, so maybe it's just not intuitive as to how to pull up the pausable mode. icon_confused

IGN's review tries to explain this (I do get the impression from their impressions that it's easy to not even know that you can pause, assign targets etc. esp. since the game's marketing emphasizes the "real time" aspect so much):
The three primary classes, (biotic user, soldier, and engineer) each have their own list of powers that can be called into use at any time by using the right bumper to call up the power wheel. Holding this button down pauses the game and allows you to use your powers, as well command your squad members to use theirs. Unlike KOTOR, there is no stacking of commands -- you can issue one command at a time to your allies.
I'm hoping it's good. It really is the kind of deep game that might get me over the fence finally. smile FPSs on consoles give me serious motion sickness, and I'm less incomptent with them on PCs. So something melding a few genres like this has a lot more appeal for me as far as being a "system seller" for me.

OK that's enough interloping. I'm fleeing. smile
10771  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: November 12, 2007, 03:02:10 AM
I was lukewarm about Marksman in the demo, but I'm working on one now (Blackjach) and quite enjoying it, esp. mastering the Super Bouncey Ball grenades and the "air strikes" (though it's a bit silly hearing a radio voice comm for an airstrike inside a ... room?  saywhat).

And battling this guy with a relatively low level Marksman was a real adventure. I don't want the whole game to be this tough (afterall, half the fun of Diablo games is splurching hordes of low level vermin), but I'd like challenging enemies like this to show up at least a little more often. A carrot at the end of some zones perhaps.  icon_cool
10772  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate: London - Show us your loot! [56k warning] on: November 12, 2007, 02:57:53 AM
These boots are nothing much to crow about but I was happy to find some lower level (for L8 Marksman) Legendary loot finally:
10773  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 12, 2007, 02:52:01 AM

Quote from: TheMissingLink on November 11, 2007, 09:38:45 PM

That is pretty damn cool, Blackjack.  Once I have some money, I'll definitely be grabbing it. 

Have you jumped online at all?
No. *sigh*. Long story but I bought this Buffalo Wi-Fi router just so I could do PSP stuff online. It set up fairly easily and worked great for months. When I decided to replace my PC's UPS unit, I unplugged the router. I lost the paper I'd written my WEP code on, and then basically I couldn't remember how to set up the router anyway. Some day I'll try it again.  crybaby I mostly played Medal of Honor: Heroes and Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (which supports the PSP voice-comm headset; MOH: Heroes and the new sequel don't) online when I had my router working properly.

One of the reviews mentioned that part of the problem online is that the multiplayer games for this reward more just glomming your squad together and throwing it at the enemy or objects. It doesn't sound like it has the deliberately paced, strategic-feel of the single player missions. This screams out for a co-op experience (even if it would maybe have to be limited to Ad Hoc wireless local play), and the PS2 games offered that, but I guess they didn't feel they could pull it off on this.
10774  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Turn based strategy/tactical game. on: November 11, 2007, 07:44:01 PM
Silent Storm was pretty awesome, I still play from time to time. I think they goofed in not better supporting mods and mod-conversion projects (everyone wanted to do an X-COM type game mod with the engine, and nobody in the end came up with anything, afik). And stay away from the poorly reviewed followups, which managed to botch up what should've been a succesful franchise.
10775  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: New PC game sales at CC - Crysis for $30 on: November 11, 2007, 06:19:44 PM
As we were commiserating in the Hellgate thread about CC's miserable PC shelf conditions these days, you'd probably want to either order it online for in-store pickup (which they seem reliable about arranging in my experience), or ask at the service desk (they just don't bother to put new PC games on the shelves much anymore, nor do they bother to remove pre-order boxes, which sit and rot on their shelves months after a game's release  thumbsdown).
10776  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [360]medal of honor airborne demo up now on: November 11, 2007, 05:53:53 PM
Gah! I finally finished today. I'm promptly uninstalling to make room for, well, anything. smile

Pics from the grand finale tomale (nobody here is playing this so I'm probably not spoiling anything):


Closing credits.

Thank *bleep* that's over...
10777  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 11, 2007, 02:36:52 PM
I thought if I sort of described a playthough (if you watch a gameplay video, it might not be clear what the player is doing, and that it's not a twitch shooter), it might help explain things. I know it'll sound boring to "read" this, without the visuals, it's hard to get the thrill across. smile

-Stronghold of Columbian drug warlord
-Night-time mission so night-vision is enabled (when controlling an individual soldier you can shut this off, possibly handly when indoors in a lighted building)

-Disabling power and all forms of possible "escape transportation" (located throughout the huge map), and then capturing the warlord.

-A "subsonic" (stealth) Russian sniper rifle is "unlocked" for this mission and is a good one to equip at least one squaddie with.
-If equipped with sniper rifle, the squaddie is smart enough to switch to his secondary SMG until you call specifically for a sniper shot.

-Mission starts outside the stronghold. Selected my designated sniper, moved him a big into a road, put the targeting cursor on a guard at the entrance, hit the "square" button [pulls up inventory, including remaining sniper shots if the squaddie has it equipped], chose Sniper shot. Squaddie gives a quick voice confirmation ("Taking the shot", I think), scope view zooms in and he takes him out.

-I reselected the entire squad (4), moving them from cover to cover (it just pays to always move in stealth mode). The game remembers the last movement mode (stealth by default) you chose so you don't need to fuss with it.

-I plop the cursor on a car at the entrance and a squaddie disables it (just press "X" when you see the "disable icon").

-Moved the squad west from the entrance towards a guardhouse. I could see a "security computer center" building objective in the distance but it's well lighted and my earlier attempt at a straight-on assault was disastrous.  Tongue

-A roving guard walks under a canopied platform outside the guardhouse.

-I repeated the sniper sequence from above to take him out quietly.

-Just to explore, I moved one duo along the side and then back of the guard house, where there turns out to be a door (you could also move in via a door and windows up front, but being a little sneaker is usualy good). I regrouped the fireteam (Hold the "triangle" button down briefly, and choose "regroup fireteam") near the door. I placed the cursor on the door, hit the "X" button (for the breaching menu). Usually "breach and clear" will suffice, as 3 line up around the door and the last squaddie kicks it in, they'll rush in set automatically at "fire at will" mode, but you can have them toss in a frag grenade or flashbang first, or just quietly open the door without firing.

-3 bad guys inside, and my squad takes them all out pretty quickly. One's wounded though. So I use the "square" button again to pull up inventory and choose "use MedPack on self" to fix him up.

-Hit "select" to pull up the overhead map (objectives are listed, and checked off as completed) -- "circle" button will jump you to the map location of whatever objective you've highlighted on the list. Red X's mark enemies. I decide to work back to that well lighted security computer house, this time from the back of it.

-I sneak the squad behind and then to the far side of the security center. Seeing there's only one guard outside it (and one inside), I use my sniper to take out the one outside in the street. I reselected the squad, point the cursor at the window and hit X (to "use" the window, which means one squaddie will bash the window glass out with his rifle button, and then the squad will fire at any visible targets inside the window in "fire at will" mode). The squad takes the guard out.

-I move the squad inside and hit "X" to "use" the computer and turn off system security for the stronghold (something like that).

-Next is a power center for the island. I sneak the squad over. I decide to go with a door breach/clear (a window's available, there's usually multiple routs into a building), the squaddies zap the two guards inside, and then I use "X" again to turn a power handle that shuts power off for the stronghold (fortunately, this isn't Commandos where probably doing this would flood the area with 25 Germans and German Shepherds. disgust) HQ's lovely female voice acknowledges and says we should be able to walk right into the Leader's house unseen.

-I move the squad up to the second level of the power building which has a couple doorways opening into a courtyard of sorts.

-A couple guards walk back and forth towards the area but can't see us. I wait until both are walking away. I select my sniper (who has a few "stealth" points in his stats now), target the nearest guard, hit "X" and choose "Stealth kill." He sneaks up behind the guard and takes him out (knife). I move him back to the squad. The other guard walks towards us a bit then moves away again. I do the same thing to take him out.

-I disable another car, and then work my way to the other side of the map to disable a power boat. In this case I was able to get one good "field of fire" situation (you can set the squad or duo to only fire when a target enters a general location -- you can also use this so they basically spread their fire evenly across multiple targets close together, rather than at a single individual). My squad's behind a big rock. There's one guard fairly nearby, than another strolls back. They're not that close together, but close enough for a field of fire command to work.

[I grabbed this image off a site. I don't think it's from this mission - thus no night vision green - but it was similar to the good "field of fire" opportunity I blabbed about here smile]

-I select the whole squad, hold X down to get my firing options. Chose "Field of Fire", placed the wide cursor so it covered both guards, and tapped X again to activate. The squad spreads fire evenly across the two guards and takes them out fast.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. smile Anyway, that's an idea of how it plays. It's a lot more exciting and tense than my turgid prose makes it, but I thought maybe that would get across that isn't a shooter, and is instead a really deep tactical strategy-type game.
10778  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sign the Hellgate anti subscription petition on: November 11, 2007, 01:55:52 PM
Why, why, why did you have to give us a Visual like that?  eek Tongue

I'm going to start a petition called, "The anti-Hellgate-petition Petition."  icon_wink No, not really. I just want to see the game get its 47 kinks worked out so we can start seeing what sorts of content updates they can do, and then subscribing might really appeal to me as well. smile

I wish they'd have more quests like in Diablo II's expansion. They seem to be cribbing too many MMO-like "Get me 3 of the Alfredo Monsters' ears, and 14 tongues from a Golaith Frokazoid etc.." Can't we have a quest that involves something more interesting than harvesting guts? Someone do a petition on that...
10779  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 11, 2007, 01:48:07 PM
What he said smile, though you give orders to 4 soldiers (not like 10-20 as in Full Spectrum Warrior).

It really has nothing in common with SOCOM, R6 Vegas etc. in terms of play. It's not a 'twitch' game [which you may or may not find good news, I find twitch shooters hand-cramping and tough to play on PSP]. The PSP attempts at R6: Vegas and Ghost Recon: AFW have been terrible. So I think it was smart for SOCOM to go to something very fresh and more of an "actiony" squad-strategy game. smile A more typical SOCOM shooter type game's under development for PS3, fwiw. Once you give squaddies orders, combat is a bit like the early Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games (fast and furious, combat is rarely drawn out).

Here it's more you're making decisions upon when to fire, there's a lot of sneaking around, finding the best shooting angles, and then deciding when to let 'em rip, when to sneak up and do a stealth kill, and getting the "duos" and individuals to work together (via timed, coordinated attacks etc.). It's a very tense (in a good way) game, and it's not one where you have to feel rushed to work through the mission (you can be really thoughtful, and try different things).

I admit it's a tough game to describe, and it isn't probably for fans of the previous SOCOM games because it plays so differently and so much more like a tiny-scale real time squad-strategy game. When people say "you don't control individual soldiers," that's not entirely true. You can select one squaddie, tell him where to go, have him attack a specific target (you have to do this to use a sniper shot), you just don't have to worry bout being some sort of FPS whiz kid (just tell him what to shoot and when, and he'll do his best  icon_cool) as he'll take care of the dirty work.

In a way, it's a shame they used the SOCOM name for this because it'll scare off people who would love this type of tactical/strategy type game, and long time SOCOM fans who haven't read about how it's different will probably feel lost if they don't give it a chance.
10780  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / PSP 2007 Game of the Year babble on: November 11, 2007, 04:05:54 AM
We're nearing the end of the year. And I think about the only remaining PSP game that might be GOTY material is the PSP version of Warhammer 40K: Squad Command (we'll know how that shapes up next week - it's due around Nov. 13 or so).

My sort of "guess forecast" for PSP GOTY nominees includes at least some of these. I dug up Sony's official site for each game, for info's sake (beware some obnoxious Flash intros that take a while to load). I tried to break them down a bit by category, but there some genres (sports, racing, I don't really play or pay much attention to on PSP to this point). I put an asterisk by games not quite released, or just barely out (MOH: Heroes) that seemed to be shaping up well.

Jeanne D'Arc

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness
[Not really my cup of tea, but I've read a lot of

I dunno-is it an RPG or just a fancy puzzle game?  icon_confused

SOCOM: Tactical Strike
[I know I'm rambling on and on about elsewhere - it's so much fun and such a nice change from the relatively brainless SOCOM shooter PSP games to date, really. smile If something like this was on PS3, I'd finally get one. IGN disagrees with me, but I still expect it to get some "votes" smile]

Warhammer 40K: Squad Command *
[Just based on a pretty fun demo, but who knows how the full game stacks up].

Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow
[I haven't gotten it only 'cause I'm still trying to finish the first game  icon_lol]

Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 *
[Based on some really strong early reviews, and lots of improvements over the well rated MOH: Heroes]
Anyway, the next time some out-of-touch dunderhead slams your PSP because "there's nothing good on it," you can politely thrust this list in their face with my blessings.  slywink

I'll update this later. Man I spent an hour on this post. Gah. If you read down this far, you are rewarded with...

Blackjack's Most Disappointing PSP Titles of the Year thumbsdown! [These were disappointing to *me*, so I apologize in advance if any of these is your Favorite PSP Game of the Year  saywhat It's all in good fun.]

SWAT: Target Liberty
I think I'm maybe the only person who bought this.  disgust As much as SOCOM: Tactical Strike gets right about a tactical, actiony game (including a rich variety of environments), SWAT gets it wrong. Stick with Killzone: Liberty if you want an isometric PSP shooter, and go for SOCOM: Tactical Strike (just hitting shelves now) if you want a rich tactical-strategy/action game done right (imho). And write Guerilla Games about doing a Killzone: Liberty followup when Killzone 2 fails to be a "Halo-killer" (a 900-pound gorilla label, right up there with "WoW Killer" and "Diablo Killer," that probably no game can live up to.  icon_neutral)

Alien Syndrome
I hesitate to call this Most Disappointing "game" because in its own way, this got me back into PSP gaming (mine had gathered dusts for months until I rented and then bought this). But the environments are numbingly repetitive, the loot is actually excessive for such an arcadey shooter, and that the guy [Larry Holland] behind classics like virtually all of the X-Wing and Tie Fighter games, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe and the under appreciated Star Trek: Bridge Commander is reduced to doing a conversion of an ancient Sega arcade shooter-thon on Wii and PSP is... well.. sad.  tear The disappointment isn't the game, so much as that someone with that creative a track record isn't getting to do something a whole lot more ambitious (on any platform). I mean, imagine if Sid Meier did SWAT: Target Liberty.  Tongue (I know, maybe then the game would've been GOOD!)

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
I'm renting this now. The controls are sloppy, the graphics are just not very good [especially compared to terrific looking titles like the Syphon Filter series, SOCOM: Tactical Strike, and the demo of next year's God of War: Chains of Olympus], the space combat's a mess, and most reviews are only lauding it for its multiplayer. Devs can do great work on PSP, but this just isn't a game I'd use to show off the system to a friend (just about anything listed above would better do that). It boggles my mind that Sony is bundling this game when there are so many excellent titles that better show off the system and have better thought-out control schemes.

A scaled down Knights of the Old Republic (turn-based stuff works better in PSP's limited button set) would seem like a great fit for PSP. I really wish they'd explore something like that instead of making a relatively mindless shooter that just demonstrates how clumsy this kind of game is on PSP if not done carefully.
10781  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Hellgate London Name and Server List on: November 11, 2007, 03:03:25 AM
I started an Invoker.... er, Revoker... a Volkswagen?  icon_confused

Flamebait (Shulgoth server). Fun, but I'm having difficulty adjusting to life without droids and drones looking after me.  icon_biggrin

And a Marksman (that'll be the end of my "alt-itis" for a while):
Blackjach [Blackjack's taken  icon_cry] (Shulgoth server)

btw, I really wish the game would let you add someone to your friends list even if they're not online at the time.
10782  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 11, 2007, 12:55:20 AM
After reconfiguring my squad's inventories, redistributing experience points and just getting more comfortable with the interface (it's well designed, but there are a lot of things to know, and to remember including what buttons to "press and hold" and what to just "tap), I think I finally fell in love with this game.  icon_biggrin I know it doesn't say much for my social life.  crybaby Tongue

I got so enveloped in the first couple missions, that I ran my PSP Slim's battery dry (it just goes into Sleep Mode to save what little juice is left and warn you to hook it up to AC). icon_cool

I wish there was some easy way to share images from the game. I try taking PSP shots with my digital camera in macro mode, but I just can't quite get it to focus usually. Here's a glimpse of the inventory screen for one op:

Those little slots below the primary and secondary weapons (pistols are basically just for emergency use in the game if out of ammo) are for attachments. There are many varieties of scopes, laser-red-dot sights, along with noise/muzzle flash suppressors for the secondary SMGs.

The "suitcase" thing in the right side of inventory is a medkit (2 packs per kit). In the same slot you could instead choose extra sniper ammo, extra rifle ammo, or grenades (HE, flashbangs, smoke).

New weapons are unlocked after each completed mission. (In theory the unlocked one should be esp. helpful on the ensuing mission but you can use anything available -- M16s and M4s are always available, couple different sniper rifles, and couple different pistols. The weapons variety is quite wonderful (all presumably licensed with their real model names), comparable to the Rogue Spear games in that respect.  icon_cool

One of the stats you can put points in will let you increase the # of secondary slots, critical if you want to carry extra medpacks and grenades (2 per kit).

Other than the aforementioned sometimes clumsy camera view (it's not a deal-breaker by any means, it's just something you have to workaround and eventually it's not much more than a minor annoyance), I'm slightly peeved that at the start of each mission, it seems to arbitrarily shove a "free" (there are credits you use to buy unlocked weapons) unlocked weapon into the first squadmate's inventory. The problebm being that my #2 guy is my sniper, and the game always shoves the new, unlocked sniper rifle into #1 guy. If I equip #2 with it I have to buy it (credits are fairly plentiful though). So, if you play this and want to save money, make your #1 guy (going left to right on the squad screen) your sniper guy, and you'll be a little happier. smile

While this isn't Gears of War, the AI (both enemy and friendly) makes terrific use of cover. And the little "ghost images" make it easy to know quickly how your squad/duo/individual will take cover behind something. All the maps are full of all sorts of cover, and possible sniper perches, so you pretty much never need to be out in the open. smile The mission maps are huge (checkpoints seem spaced reasonably fairly, though it's possible to miss one, and not all the waypoints in a mission will save progress [most do]), very intricate, overlapping -- a lot like Killzone: Liberty's maps in that regard.  icon_cool

Elevation is really key in the game. I got whupped on Mission 1 when I approached an open courtyard at ground level; once I experimented with going back to some stairs and approaching from up high, *aha!*, a light bulb went off above my head. Made it much easier to get a bead on high targets and you have more protection from lower attacks.

You would think sniper attacks (since you aren't controlling the way you do in a shooter -- basically you pick a target, hit the Square button and AI handles it) might feel dull or sort of detached, but it's great. The sniper talks about closing in on the target, you see the scope view zoom in and hear him hold his breath. It'll get tricky cause the AI will sometimes bob behind cover, or you'll lose the line of sight. The exhaustive use of voice responses and orders in the game is really immersive.

I haven't quite gotten to the point of using the "delayed" orders much. You can actually move an individual soldier around and give him orders (not just duos and the entire squad of four). After I got comfortable with controls I really got involved in setting one duo to say, cover a certain area, while the sniper took a shot and then backed up behind them. Then *boom*, they take out the enemies dashing around the corner. There are lots of opportunities like that.

Ok enough rambling thoughts for now. Good stuff. Great even. smile I'll hope that it gets to battle FFT: War of the Lions and Jeanne D'Arc for PSP Game of the Year.  icon_biggrin

I was trying to find a nice, tidy screenshot gallery for this. Some site called Showbuzz.CBSNews has just such a set. smile
10783  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [360]medal of honor airborne demo up now on: November 10, 2007, 07:13:30 PM
I'm going to try to finish the end of Der Flakem today (PC). Final push. I've got to remove it for hard drive space soon.  Tongue

Addendum: *every* Time I think I'm finished, I get another checkpoint save and "go meet the engineers in the blah blah room." ARGH! What, the engineers don't have a watch or a compass?  icon_evil
10784  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: November 10, 2007, 06:56:14 PM

Quote from: Destructor on November 10, 2007, 04:46:00 PM

And one quick point - if you're a ranged class and are fighting a giant monster, just keep moving backwards while holding down the trigger.
Actually that's how I fight everything in the game.  icon_lol I just didn't realize initially how hardy those Goliaths are. I'm going to try to post a couple links to little FRAPS gameplay videos I took. I'll have those up shortly. smile

Blackjack's Hellgate Videos icon_cool
Click here to watch Hellgate-by-Flagship-Studios---Goliath
This is somewhat distorted (my size doesn't quite match what hosts it as). I learned to backoff from these things and use cover a little bit.

Click here to watch Hellgate co-op w/ LeChuck
Brief footage of co-op with a Summoner named LeChuck. He was fun to play with. We just got really frustrated with the bug that separates your group when entering the door to the next zone (I could see his pets but he disappeared, he couldn't see me at all  icon_confused)
10785  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sign the Hellgate anti subscription petition on: November 10, 2007, 06:50:58 PM
I was hoping this was the "Petition to end Hellgate Petitions until Flagship has actually gotten the game polished"  icon_biggrin [which could be months  paranoid]. I'd argue they should delay the idea of subscriptions [but not cancel the idea] and focus on fixing the game, improving the chat systems (not to beat a dead horse), making it so your co-op team can actually go through a door into the next zone without getting separated (talk about bugs  Roll Eyes) and doing all the other improvements and fixes necessary because of its (by most opinions) premature release. THEN they can do all those ambitious updates, new content and other goodies that would really make subscriptions appealing to more gamers like me (and I like the game so far, I'm just convinced their focus should be on polishing the game, make it so good that we all want to subscribe).

Of course a few folks are already subscribing and they'd probably feel understandably screwed over if the subscription system were abruptly dropped and everyone had the features and goodies they were paying for, which is why I doubt they'll listen to me (The Delayer), or to the petitions.

If Flagship's financials depend so desperately on $10 monthly subscription fees already, then they've got serious financial problems and they need a new accountant.  Tongue Seriously if it turns out they desperately need monthly fees (rather than it being a "bonus"), then I wouldn't understand why they didn't just stick with a monthly-fee-required game.

As an aside, back when I ran a little fan site dedicated to the German strategy game Incubation (Geo's Incubation Site), I got maybe 250 signatures over the course of some years for an "Incubation 2" petition (I wanted a sequel). The game's producer said I would've needed thousands and thousands of signatures for the petition to carry any weight at all with the publisher. But I felt better doing the petition, so, my jokes aside, I don't begrudge anyone doing this sort of petition if it makes them feel better. Just know how many legit sigs you need for a publisher/dev to take any notice.  icon_neutral
10786  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: November 10, 2007, 03:24:13 PM
Sounds cool, Lockdown. There's no perfect MMO (not even WoW  icon_biggrin) that everyone responds to. I do tend to respond more to heavy combat. LOTORO has plenty of that, but a lot of other stuff to do too (I just felt after a couple high lev characters that I'd done all I cared to do and see there). I just loved the combat and animations so much in COH that I didn't mind that I'd done everything mission wise over the years (though it did finally catch up with me).

TR seems tailor made for me, but I'd like to try a trial version of the full game first (if they do that sometime). Though I guess the problem with that is I wouldn't get to see what higher level content is like.
10787  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: NCSoft buys City of Heroes on: November 10, 2007, 12:41:49 PM
I probably lost a third of my global friends list buds over the Enhancement Diversity stuff. Although they're probably committed to PVP, I felt like introducing PVP introduced an utter Pandora's Box of balancing issues (as much as they tried to say they wouldn't let PVP issues bleed into PVE effects, that kept cropping up).

I mainly gave up recently because I had too much non MMO stuff to play (I'll probably unplug from LOTORO soon too, haven't hardly played at all in months), and because, well, clicking glowies, escort missions and the like had just lost their appeal. If they can revamp a lot of areas as well as they did ... uh.... oh dang I can't remember the zone's name I've been away so long. The Hazard Zone that got revamped a few updates ago.  icon_confused
10788  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: November 10, 2007, 12:19:08 PM
Gamespy had a pretty enthusiastic review (4/5 stars):
And most of their staff was very keen on it in their rambling "Pile On" (which is just them sharing individual opinions, and they were all quite hooked).

There's still some skepticism about its long term appeal (how well/often they updated it with new content, and if they get an auction house implemented will play a big part in that). The crafting system sounds as baffling as the one that confounded most people in Auto Assault.

I've just got my hands totally full right now (Hellgate and COD4 on PC, SOCOM: Tactical Strike on PSP), but I'm definitely interested in reading about continuing impressions on this. smile I'd just like to see how the initial updates go for TR and how well they're going to support it (the decision not to do an official message board for it is really disappointing to me, considering how well NCSoft ran boards for their other games, even the maligned Auto Assault). icon_confused

I felt let down by the TR beta, but it really was just a mess at the time I tried it. It sounds like it's in far better shape at launch. Given Gods & Heroes' cancellation, and Conan, and Warhammer Online fleeing their original tentative late 2007 release dates, I guess NCSoft should feel good they actually got an MMO out the door at all at this point in the year. smile

If I cancel LOTORO soon I'll be officially "MMO-less," and it might induce me to give this a try. What server do you guys play on? (just in case smile).
10789  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 10, 2007, 12:09:46 PM
I am enjoying this (SWAT: Target Liberty took only a couple days to disappoint me but this immediately felt good, even with some somewhat clumsy camera view/angle issues), but Hellgate and COD4 (PC) are hogging my time atm. If anybody's lurking and has a question about how this plays, just let me know. smile
10790  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: November 10, 2007, 12:02:53 PM
I was feeling good about my new Laser (it's more like a Tesla lightning thing you can "toggle" onto a target till it fries icon_twisted):

But the Goliaths (the game needs more enemies this intimidating imho smile) were not impressed and stomped my face into the ground:

My first attempt went badly, I think cause I was so used to steamrollering everything in sight. I actually had to use some strategy with these guys.  icon_cool
10791  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Assassin's Creed thread - brought to you by Jade Raymond on: November 09, 2007, 10:16:13 PM

Quote from: Knightsabre on November 09, 2007, 08:24:50 PM

Blackjack, that was really quite funny.
Thanks. smile I too think Jade is gorgeous (not enough to distract you though if something's wrong in the game Tongue), and I'm hoping the game turns out well. Most producers seem basically to be "cat herders," so I do imagine even working on a game that turns out poorly is valuable as far as learning how to get a crew to work together.

It's just, well, nobody every really did figure out why the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time didn't find a massive audience befitting a game with such great reviews. Going grittier with its followups didn't seem to aid sales. If it's because the games were too complicated, then Assassin's Creed might well fall into the same retail sales dead zone. Hopefully, like Bioshock, the game will attain better sales than its spiritual predecessor. Sometimes innovative games just don't click with the mass audience, but sometimes they do.  icon_confused
10792  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Gods & Heroes Rome Rising is dead on: November 09, 2007, 07:51:55 PM
Oh, btw, all over the walls in Hellgate are travel posters for Rome, usually next to the in-game ad for Dark Horse Comics. The Rome posters always reminds me of this game.  icon_cry
10793  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: November 09, 2007, 07:25:12 PM
Hellgate's setting some new record for "most player petitions" shortly after release. The latest (mentioned at Blue's) says to do away with the subscription model altogether  saywhat (somehow, I don't think Flagship's going to listen)

Most MMO's charge $14.99 a month or more though so I don't know how good a basis for comparison that is. They'd be better off drawing a comparison with Dungeon Runners (whose optional fee is $4.99 monthly I think).

I think it makes more sense to give them some time to stabilize the game, servers and billing situations -- and maybe jazz up the chat window -- before drowning them in a sea of petitions they probably have no time or plans to view, just imho.
10794  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Hellgate London Name and Server List on: November 09, 2007, 07:06:49 PM
ROTC1983, you forgot about lil ole me on your compilation post. smile Though I am relatively new to the GT forums. Perhaps I have not passed my towel-snapping initiation ceremony yet.  icon_surprised

Blackjack=Blackdroid on Shulgoth (Level11 Engineer)
10795  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (11/5) (The real post) on: November 09, 2007, 07:01:02 PM
I got:

SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) Nov. 8, at Gamestop.

I got Call of Duty 4 at Best Buy Nov. 7, but on PC.
10796  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 09, 2007, 06:44:10 PM
Is anyone here Australian by the way? Although my squad speaks English, some of their Australian sayings during combat make no sense me to at all.  icon_confused I need someone from the Outback to translate...
10797  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: COD4 impressions (demo on pg 1, game on pg 2) on: November 09, 2007, 06:39:34 PM
To be fair, Infinity Ward has been around for years and seems to have a great relationship within Activision. Flagship is a start-up, and I just get the impression their dev team is not exactly a cohesive, veteran team. I'm being nice about it in terms of Hellgate's launch condition.  disgust I still enjoy Hellgate, but I really have this vision of Bill Roper on this ship that's full of holes, taking on water, and all the crew is frantically bailing water out and putting duct tape on holes.  saywhat. Meanwhile, Infinity Ward is this iron bottomed schooner with nary a scratch on it.  mad

I think it's great IW set up separate launch teams for each platform (according to Grant Collier interviews), set no limits, and just told them to make the best use of the platform they could, and the end result seems to be that it runs beautifully on each platform.

I've loved what I've played so far. I know the storyline is not exactly original, but I really am impressed -- relatively speaking, it's not like PC game storytelling is Shakespeare -- with some of the storytelling techniques.

I was reading some grumbling at Penny Arcade ("Gabe" for some reason comparing it with R6: Vegas), but he seemed to be comparing Apples and Oranges. I would no more compare it to R6: Vegas, than I'd compare Half-Life 2 to Ghost Recon: Advanced War Fighter.  icon_confused I have told buds who prefer more "open," less scripted single player games to perhaps wait for Crysis but otherwise it has my wholehearted recommmendation to everybody. I just wish they'd find a way to do co-op, or give mod-makers the tools to implement that.
10798  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: November 09, 2007, 01:46:20 PM
I think they revamped the official site a while back. Since I can't do screenshots per se, it's worth checking out if the game interests you:

I got fairly far into the first real mission. I have a definite shortage of medpacks, and I think I used a couple by mistake as I got used to the buttons interface. Movement waypoints also serve as checkpoints during the mission. The maps are pretty huge but these points are at least sprinkled around a decent amount.

I accidentally set one duo to "Fire at Will" and while they did do some serious damage (before I could remember how to change the setting), they seriously wasted ammo. You can grab any weapons off of fallen enemies.

The enemy AI's pretty good generally. It really pays to mostly move in stealth mode, cause if you jog, they seem to always get alerted in the vicinity.
10799  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: November 09, 2007, 04:59:13 AM
Blue's mentioned this tonight (hopefully I'm not repeating something from another thread here), forum post by Flagship about continuing fixes/improvements:
Dear Customers,

We realize many of you are experiencing a variety of problems. We at Flagship and Ping0 are working hard to address these issues.

Our current top priorities are:

* Resolving any remaining problems related to billing and subscriptions.
* Fixing two known bugs which cause players to sometimes lose items (one related to dual focus/dual melee, and one related to loading issues).
* Making improvements to memory usage in order to reduce "Memory Exhausted" crashes.
* Fixing a known issue with the user interface which causes the application to lock up intermittently.* An issue which occasionally prevents characters from being able to load or switch instances.
* General chat interface improvements. (Many improvements are in the works).
* Random disconnects and lag.
* Allowing higher resolution textures and models for other players.
* Various known problems with being able to continue interrupted side quests.
* Remnant quest items not getting destroyed and "clogging" up inventory.
* Continued problems with saving / loading Engineer Drone items.
* Invisible party members.
* The nanoforge not correctly improving rare and better armors.
* Getting stuck on collision.

Some of these are issues which will be fixed as soon as possible and go live in upcoming patches, some will be in our upcoming content patch, and others are issues on which we will make gradual improvements to on a continuous basis.

Of course we also have a more extensive bug list as well as lot of general improvements and new content in the works. Everyone here is
working full-time to support Hellgate. We appreciate your patience.

-The Hellgate: London team
Dear Flagship, You're supposed to do all this stuff *before* you release your game!  saywhat In spite of it, I'm hooked and the server seems quite crowded. smile
10800  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: November 09, 2007, 04:33:39 AM
Finally got to do a little co-op, with Arduos (who served as our "pathfinder" cause I get lost biggrin). Couple glimpses:

It's certainly more Diablo than MMO in co-op, sort of just destroy everything in sight and try to stick together a bit. smile
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