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8081  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: OK Gear-Heads... Fall In! [Gears of War] on: November 07, 2006, 08:40:54 AM
Turtle = Picturtle
8082  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista to kill 3D sound and EAX on: November 05, 2006, 10:32:54 AM
Because they're the only big sound card manufacturer out there, there's not too much to compare it to.  Also a lot of sound is subjective to the casual listener, unlike graphics for processing power which is easily measured.  About all you can tell of the creative cards are nifty new features they pioneer or if the card has bugs.  Creative is careful to fix any bugs for games that are commonly used to benchmark.

I was actually looking forward to getting a turtle beach card, but I hear their quality has gone down as of late.
8083  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PS3 Live On Gamespot on: November 05, 2006, 10:30:32 AM
If it works as advertised, it could be a real victory for Sony over the 360 as they can clearly point out that online play is free whereas you have to spent about $50 a year at best to play online for the same features.  This would also force MS to actually have some good subscriber content beyond just being able to play online for the gold subscription.  Either way it's a win-win situation for gamers.
8084  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: WTF is it about WoW?!? on: November 04, 2006, 10:16:19 AM
WoW, MMORPGs, and Diablo style game all work on the same principle that slot machines do.  Give rewards at semi random intervals.  It creates a kind of dependancy that makes lab rats press a lever for hours on end just to get a treat that may or may not come out of the slot.  The same goes for killing the same looking mobs over and over, doing the same raids over and over all to get that bit of cool loot that may or may not drop and may or may not be rolled into your inventory.

That's not to say WoW doesn't have nice community aspects, an interesting world to explore, and a bit of story, but at its core WoW is designed just like a slot machine, it's just prettier and more interactive.  Sure there's PvP and questing and stuff, but that drives the whole collection and power game.  Get cool loot to get better at raids, PvP, and quests and to get the loot you must spend the money and the time.

I realized this a long while back and that's pretty much why I don't play most MMO games nowadays, no matter how pretty.  There's a very specific set of features that I want to see, and a specific set of features that I don't want to see before I ever try an MMO.

However, I really don't blame the developers, it's a successful business model, WoW has perfected it and marketed it with help from its brand.
8085  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Halo 3 Legendary Pre-order on: November 04, 2006, 09:50:42 AM
Actually, I wanted to make a Master Chief costume for next year halloween.  Although I wouldn't buy the helmet for it, I do recall there are people who make full master chief outfits for quite a hefty fee.
8086  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Warhammer: Mark of Chaos demo out on: November 04, 2006, 03:51:22 AM
It's kinda sad.  I mean, this could have been Warhammer: Total War for us, now it's just buggy.
8087  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I can't believe I just bought a faceplate for the 360 on: November 03, 2006, 09:33:24 PM
Thankfully, I have ample paint supplies and if I want a new faceplate, I can simply take the default one off an repaint it however I please.
8088  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / NWN2 $36.99 at Frys.com on: November 03, 2006, 09:02:10 PM
Not sure how long the deal will last, but Fry's online store, frys.com is selling NWN2 for $36.99.  That's about right for Fry's usual release day discount.
8089  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: G.o.W. on: November 03, 2006, 08:41:07 PM
I think, perhaps, the success of GoW is that it will simply be what they said it was.  It's not much more than a shooter with good use of cover and great graphics, the multiplayer looks fun too.

So nothing groundbreaking, but like HL2, it probably uses fun elements from other games and puts them in a very pretty and polished package.
8090  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista to kill 3D sound and EAX on: November 02, 2006, 07:27:37 PM
A3D was Aureal's death, they never made it an open format like Creative did and thus they missed many an opportunity.

Seems to me that since many of these sound features are pretty common nowadays, the need for custom APIs for sound is greatly dimished.
8091  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: New PS3 Game Pics - Wow on: November 02, 2006, 07:23:30 PM
Heh, that motor storm screenshot is the equivalent to taking the most beautiful FPS game to date, taking a screenshot of the character facing a blank wall, then saying you're not impressed with the entirity of the system and its game library based on that one screenshot.
8092  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Neverwinter Nights 2 Impressions on: November 02, 2006, 09:24:13 AM

Quote from: Destructor on November 01, 2006, 03:06:56 AM

Quote from: CSL on November 01, 2006, 12:42:24 AM

Deekin is a merchant in Neverwinter. Could not pick him up for my party though.

Deekin is a merchant? You mean we can't have my favorite little kobold as a teammate anymore?

*insert whiny Anakin Skywalker scream here*

Oh I'm pretty sure that one of the first character mods out there will be to let Deekin be in your party.
8093  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Want Exclusives? Then You Want Microsoft for the Next 7 months on: November 02, 2006, 09:19:49 AM
This post is a bit skewed since neither the PS3 or Wii has been released yet.  About the best you can say for the 360 is that it's out now and has some good games coming out for it within the next 6 months.  Not to put down the 360, I have one myself, but honestly on release the 360 didn't have much in the way of games either.

Dead Rising isn't that exclusive, as Capcom has said they're making a Dead Rising for the PS3.
8094  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Call of Duty 3 on: October 29, 2006, 10:41:15 AM
After being burnt on GRAW, and with R6 looking like more of the same, I'm going with CoD3 and Gears of War for my shooter needs.  Alas, I may have to buy R6 anyway for co-op.

I definitely like the more complex multiplayer.
8095  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Call of Duty 3 on: October 28, 2006, 04:13:06 PM
I recall they were aiming to have 4 player split screen on live play.  That'd be great if that made it in.
8096  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Might and Magic: Dark Messiah Impressions. on: October 26, 2006, 08:44:13 AM
Knightshade, that's not the problem they're describing.  The problem you describe is synonymous with onboard sound, usually this particular brand that's quite common.  It's simply not a well designed chip and doesn't adhere to later standards, so in certain games at certain times the audio will devolve into static.  To fix it you usually have to turn audio acceleration all the way down.
8097  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SC:DA is good fun so far! on: October 26, 2006, 07:26:38 AM
This seems to be the way all next gen series titles are going for ubisoft.  They're always leaving something behind in gameplay while focusing on the next gen graphics.  Hopefully once the whole next gen graphics craze dies down they can get back to refining gameplay.
8098  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Looking for a dedicated MP Double Agent player to fill out a 3-person team on: October 26, 2006, 12:50:38 AM
Yeah, seems it petered out.  The new mode is fun, but I was most looking forward to the spy vs spy mode, which they failed to include and failed to inform us buyers that they had removed it.
8099  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SC:DA is good fun so far! on: October 25, 2006, 07:35:02 PM
So it looks like they never shipped with the spy vs spy multiplayer mode.  Hell, I distinctly remember they were big time promoting over 3 multiplayer modes.  In Spy Vs Spy there was no presence detector, all spies had guns and melee attacks, and a bigger list of moves, probably more like the SP game's moves, and more gadgets for each team.

Go to:
http://splintercell.us.ubi.com/doubleagent/

Then look at the flash site's multiplayer section.  It clearly shows the missing MP mode.  Nice of Ubisoft to remove a feature that's still being advertised without telling anyone.
8100  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Switched on: October 25, 2006, 09:52:16 AM
The big reasons why macs have been more secure for now, was that it was a smaller install base and a different architecture than the more common PC.

Also, my friends who are staunch PC users have already modded windows to have all the better features of OS X.  And they can still play games on it.  slywink

Macs, and apple, are pretty much overrated.  They just excel at being trendy, and assume all their users are computer illiterate to begin with, which is why they sell so much.
8101  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dead Rising impressions! on: October 24, 2006, 10:37:52 PM
The clown will block bullets with his chainsaw.  Best way to kill him is actually to run downstairs and kick those multi colored toy boxes at him.  Someone mentioned this above, but it's the easiest way to kill him since you can attack him from a distance, you don't have to worry about timing, a hit from the box will interrupt any attack he's doing, and he can't block it.

As for the convicts, I got lucky and killed them with just a pistol.  They got stuck on a tree right next to me and the gunner was spinning the gun my way, all the while my survivors were running for the door on the other side of the map.  I shot the gunner a few times in the head and killed him, then quickly ran and grabbed the heavy machinegun from the back of the jeep and killed the other two.
8102  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Purchasing consoles (and other stuff) at Costco on: October 24, 2006, 10:31:42 PM
Besides the massive checkout lines, I've had nothing but good experiences at Costco.  Even friends who have worked there only complain that they require a certain amount of hours a week (bad thing for college students).

My father got his 360 from costco, a few days after release no less.

My friend wants a ps3 and I said we'd drive out to costco that morning to get one.  No worries about bad hardware if we're buying from costco, if the PS3 explodes we just return it and wait for a replacement.
8103  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: 24 things you should know about the PS3... on: October 24, 2006, 12:10:06 AM
Yep, every third party title I've seen has been confirmed as $59.99.  I don't know what your friend is smoking, but he probably bought it from microsoft. slywink

There's no way Sony would price above $60 when a competitor has their games at a lower price point.  Their system is already costly enough.
8104  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / My tough college decision on: October 23, 2006, 11:38:12 PM
My tough decision:  Take this illlustration job on campus, but stay a semester longer in school, possibly two semesters longer.  Or, stick with the 5 studio classes I have now.

For a little background, I'm 25, studying to be an animator/illustrator with hopes of joining a game studio and perhaps having a studio of my own.  I've been in school near forever and as much as I'm burnt out, I'm excited at how much I've improved this year.  I'm ready to leave, but I have to acknowledge that my artistic skills and self discipline are simply not up to professional level yet due to laziness and general goofing off.

I'm also behind in life in general, still living at home, no serious girlfriend yet, problems with simply talking and being friendly, etc...  So I want to get out there.

But, on the otherhand, I need the money, and I need the experience.  To take this job means dropping one of my 5 art classes, which was way too much for me to take in the first place.  I'll likely have to drop special studies illustration which has a massive workload on top of my animation classes.  My family has said they're willing to support me those extra semesters so long as I use the money I make from the job to help pay the bills, which I planned to do.

I suppose I'm just worried about being the guy who graduated at 26-27, seeing my friends go on while I'm still at school.  Should I even be worried about this?  Should I just try to get as much learning as I can get?

What were your experiences in college?
8105  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] Resistance is now 720p only on: October 22, 2006, 10:34:35 PM
Once again people blowing a small thing out of proportion.

Even MS was touting 1080p until they realized that their hardware simply couldn't run games at that resolution with decent framerate.

Good grief, the PS3 bashers are really scratching the bottom of the barrel.
8106  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Looking for a dedicated MP Double Agent player to fill out a 3-person team on: October 21, 2006, 09:05:45 PM
I'm a splinter cell vet and very good at teamwork and tactics, as Calvin can attest to.

I'm interested, but my time is limited, you'll have to let me know ahead of time.

Also, is this SCDA for the PC or 360?
8107  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Guild 2 - Buggy unplayable mess. JoWood again. on: October 21, 2006, 12:03:02 PM
Someone should point out to them that Blizzard, probably the best selling developer/publisher out there, gets this reputation by having highly polished games.

I hope Jowood cracks and dies.  Maybe the devs could then get the rights and put the games out properly under digital distribution, or perhaps more reputable companies will with up the IP.
8108  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SC:DA is good fun so far! on: October 21, 2006, 04:50:04 AM
There were two game modes listed for SCDA, you can see it on the website.  Spy vs. Merc is the new take on the gameplay from Chaos Theory.  The new Spy vs Spy mode was supposed to be in.  I think it had all spies will the full Sam Fisher movement set and spies could have guns and melee attacks to kill each other.

See if you can find it somehow, they still listed the mode on theor website on release day, so it must be there.

Perhaps the mode depends on which map you're playing?
8109  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sony Public Relations = Grasping at Straws on: October 20, 2006, 05:39:29 PM
Sony PS3 bashers, grasping at straws.
8110  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SC:DA is good fun so far! on: October 20, 2006, 08:16:57 AM
So have you tried the Spy vs Spy mode yet?  What's the difference between spy vs. spy and spy vs. merc?
8111  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Students Trained to Fight School Shooters on: October 19, 2006, 11:15:38 AM
It'd go bad for anyone trying to attack an art school, we carry plenty of sharp point objects, along with a larger assort ment of heavy objects, not to mention a lot of hazardous chemicals.

A bit of graphite/charcoal dust in his eyes so he can't see, out come the xacto knives, and with our knowledge of human anatomy, we could probably cut a major artery somewhere on the body.  Assuming he's not beaten to death with metal t-squares and art bags loaded with all sorts of nastiness.
8112  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: 360 Game Deals at CompUSA? on: October 19, 2006, 06:43:20 AM
Perfect Dark: CE is still only $20.  The normal version of $30 for some odd reason.
8113  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Is there anyone playing Chromehounds online? on: October 19, 2006, 06:42:27 AM
Armored core is a different type of game.

I don't think I'll be buying chromehounds, even if it drops significantly in price.  The 20 man squad limit is effectively the death of this game when you consider there is no single player.

With only 20 people in a squad, and life generally being what it is, once the initial newness is gone and other games come out, those 20 people quickly find other things to do and it becomes difficult to find enough people to play.

Things would have been okay if they'd allowed squads to link up into companies or larger organizational structures.  Allowing members of different squads to play with each other without hundreds of people in one room.  Then I'd probably buy the game because with a much larger group of potential players, I can log in and reasonably expect to find other people to play with.

Then there's the parts for sale.  These said parts being significantly better than anything else out there, these parts were already in the game as seen on enemy hounds.  Kind of an ultimate F.U. to fans that bought the game they make you shell out more money just to stay on top.  The whole pilot progression and the world battle, while nifty at first, needs to be rethought as nothing really balances out.  Money means nothing and there's an endless supply of parts.  It'd be more interesting if these battles caused more permanent problems, such as having a part destroyed in battle means buying a new one.

Then there's the balance issues with heavy cannons...
8114  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: More EA Hijinks (Battlefield 2142 related) on: October 17, 2006, 08:36:56 AM
The game's the same old Battlefield dressed up in near future scifi.  Nothing new, it may be fun, but so are so many other games out now and in the future.

Not to mention I'd rather support other companies.
8115  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: More EA Hijinks (Battlefield 2142 related) on: October 16, 2006, 04:34:41 PM
I really hope BF1942 fails horribly, but knowing that they didn't put all that much money into it, I suspect it'll make money either way and the ads will get some more.
8116  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: South Park - the WoW Episode on: October 16, 2006, 11:12:33 AM
It's like my first and last Ultima Online experience.
8117  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Xbox 360) Splinter Cell Double Agent mulitplayer demo on Marketplace on: October 16, 2006, 07:23:18 AM
Just so you know, the closer a spy is to the terminal the faster his meter fills up.  So, you can get a good idea of how far away a spy is by looking at how quickly his download meter is filling up.  Likewise, as a spy, if you want to complete a download quickly, walk right up to the terminal and get downloading.

And yeah, the EMF vision doesn't work while moving, you have to stand still and let the haze clear before you can see anything.  After the EMF meter fills up, you can still move around slowly.  Once the haze clears the spy should show up bright as day.  If you still have trouble, simply stand right next to the terminal and turn on EMF and look around.  Use your sniper scope to look at any bright spots in that view.  You should at least be able to see the spy's head.  I very much like how the merc no longer has to worry about spies sneaking up behind them to grab while looking for a hidden hacker since his presence detector lets him know if he's in trouble.

I've been getting pretty good at killing as a spy.  I switch up spy roles now and then, either doing the hacking, or running interference on friendly hack attempts.  I'll usually set myself where mercs entering the room will only get a distant ping on their presence detectors, they'll think it's the spy that's hacking and run towards the terminal.  By then he's picked up the presence of my friend, and I can hack him while he's distracted, then run up and grab him while he has no presence detector.

Remember that unlike the sound meter from previous games, the presence detector can't discern between more than one spy.  So when a merc goes into an area, he'll only see one ping even if there are 2-3 spies around him.  So use teamwork.

By the way, you cannot deploy the drone with your back against a wall as the drone deploys right behind you, or you can crouch instead with your back against a wall and the drone will deploy above you.  This effectively leaves you open to some sort of attack while you use the drone, something which I've exploited quite a bit to kill mercs.  Often, when I run interference, I have teammate run into a nearby vent as the mercs bust into the room, he'll hide down there in a spot where he can't be shot or hit with grenades.  I keep an eye on the mercs from my vantage point, and they're usually too busy trying to pinpoint where my teammate is in the vent that they don't notice or look for me.  Eventually one of them will figure out that he's in the vents and start using his drone, that's when I let my teammate know to back up, and I zip out of my position and either break the merc's neck, or knock him out if he's crouched.

If you knock out a merc, take the time to hack his electronics if no one else is around.  It'll leave him without his presence detector for a bit and that could give a teammate more time to hack, a means to escape more easily, or enough of an edge to kill him.

One big thing I like about this new version is how the two sides relate to one other.  In previous games due to the way things worked, it was scarier to play the spy than it was to play the mercs.  Experienced spies would smack mercs around like playthings.  Now, the merc players can be more confident when simply moving around since his presence detector let's him know when spies are around.  Then spies are encouraged to sneak or be acrobatic by the removal of their close combat abilities, and the addition of a nice new set of escape maneuvers that don't require accuracy or timing to quickly get into vents, through windows, or through holes in the cieling.
8118  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: Heroclix? Other games like it? on: October 15, 2006, 01:16:27 PM
Just the topic I was looking for.

There's some new non random pre-painted miniatures games coming out in the near future.  The first being AT-43 by Rackham.  It's a scifi setting with small walkers and alien invaders.  Do a search for it, the box set looks rather nice.

Pinnacle/Great White Games is coming out with Slaughter Gulch, a board game using the same style prepainted miniatures based on their Deadlands Setting.

Mongoose Publishing is coming out with a prepainted version of their Starship Troopers miniatures game, they're basically relaunching the entire game as prepainted, but still letting people buy the sprues if they want to do their own painting.
8119  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Xbox 360) Splinter Cell Double Agent mulitplayer demo on Marketplace on: October 15, 2006, 10:54:57 AM
TML, have you played the first two games before?

The problem with the first two games was that they had horrible tutorials, and a whole lot of undocumented features that were both arbitary and unintuitive.  This meant that unless a new player was really studying the game he wouldn't learn all that much from simply playing.  Instead he'd just be killed over and over by people using features that they can't fathom.

In this version, it seems like the features are there in front of you and are simpler in nature.  There's also less things to worry about at the same time.  Before a spy had to worry about mines, spy traps, merc vision modes and sound meter, map hazards, cameras, timing, etc.  A merc had to deal with using the correct vision mode out of 3 different vision modes, spy grabs, spy stun gun, the all important camera smoke, spy slaps, where to place mines, etc.  If you notice those lists have a lot of distractions, but in this version the focus is back on the enemy spy or merc and not on traps or little range tricks the do.

From my experience, the learning curve is much less of a cliff than a manageable slope with a summit that's still a bit high, but still within reach.  Once you learn these basic features and their simpler functions, the tactics behind them are a lot more intuitive and easily learned.
8120  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Xbox 360) Splinter Cell Double Agent mulitplayer demo on Marketplace on: October 15, 2006, 10:07:13 AM
Chalk me up as someone who likes this a bit better than the sound meter handled it.  The sound meter required way too much work to avoid not making sounds, and sometimes it was impossible not to make sounds in some areas.  If you could read the sound meter, you could pretty much know where all spies were.  All a merc had to do was stand in one spot and listen for the sounds to match and run in guns blazing.

With the presence detector, the range of detection is very small, and the merc doesn't know in which direction you're in.  Plus you can still actually listen to the sounds that enemies make.

There's a lot of changes to the game that while at first are disorienting, I think they're for the better.  One big change is that the maps are a bit more open and play counts increased to 3v3.  Gameplay is more streamlined and dynamic.  No more mines and static defenses to slow the game down, it's just mercs vs the spies.  In PT and CT multiplayer, it would often devolve into war of the gadgets rather than a dynamic battle between spies and mercs.

Spy changes make them much less annoying, and much more difficult to take mercs on head to head.  But on the same note, it's easier for them to escape an encounter with the escape maneuvers and effectiveness of gadgets.  Some changes include:

No ranged stun attack for spies, instead they can use their hacking device to hack enemy mercs, which puts static on the merc's screen, partially disable his flashlight, and disable his vision modes.  It's very disorienting for the merc, but he can still move and attack (I think) and to stop it he just has to move out of the spy's line of sight, or kill the spy.  All the while, the spy can't do anything else other than hack the merc, making this hack attack move of a teamplay element.

Spies have much less health now than before, and a heashot still kills in one shot.

Each spy can have only one gadget.  Not sure if you can throw or launch a gadget, need to experiment.  However, gadgets are no longer locked, you can switch your gadget from a crate in your starting area, including refilling them.

To kill or knock out a merc, you have to get close to him, no more camera gas.  This is dangerous as mercs are now much tougher and agile, and their melee attacks aren't as slow or limited (less cooldown time on the berzerk 360 degree attack).  Also, the spy no longer has a melee attack, so you can't stun a merc by running right up to his face and slapping him like in previous games (where you could slap a merc which made him face you and stumble backwards, right into the hands of your waiting buddy, there was no defense against this for mercs).  You either catch him by surprise, hack him, or escape.  This really puts the emphasis on spies being sneaky instead of taking on mercs directly.

To make up for spies being weaker in all elements of combat, they now have escape maneuvers which are simply hella fun, not to mention fast and very effective.  Also maps in general are made with more open paths.  In previous MP modes, to get into a vent or into an opening in the cieling, you'd have to run up and try to line up your jump so that you grabbed on and then pull yourself up.  Now all you have to do is hit the RB button in range of the vent, open cieling, or open window and you'll do an appropriate maneuver like sliding into a small vent, doing an acrobatic jump straight up and into the vent, or leap through windows, even breaking the glass in the window if there is any.

Also, in general the spy movement is faster, things that were just deathtraps before are worth a shot now.  Like scaling fences for example, previously if you scaled a fence it made a ton of noise, took forever to reach the top, then at the top the spy had a long animation of him going over the top and then climbing down.  In DA, the climbing is quicker, and once you reach the top the spy simply does a somersault over the top and lands on his feel on the other side, not bothing with climbing down.  Climbing up ledges and boxes are also slightly faster, allowing you to evade faster or drop down on a merc.  However, since the mercs get a motion tracker all the time, this can be dangerous.

No more stealth suit or spy bullet.  They were nice, but they don't fit into the more dynamic gameplay of this new game.

I haven't seen if there are any cooperative moves, which were kinda nice, but mostly I found them tedious and dangerous. 

Mercs get some nice changes:

Motion tracking is now part of their default view, so if an enemy moves quickly anywhere in your view he's outlined in white.  Still need to test the range on this, though.  But it means if spies are trying to go gung ho on you, even in dark areas you can see them clear as day to kill them.  No more switching to a nearly useless motion tracking view.  This makes spies want to move slowly at all times even though the sound meter is no longer around.

They can rapel down off walkways to the ground, but not back up.  Meaning spies still have the advantage of vertical movement, but you're no longer SOL if a spy jumps over a railing.  However, mercs no longer get a jump.

The merc flashlight can be adjusted for wide angle flood lighting, or long range spot lighting by pressing up or down on the dpad.  Very nice when moving between outdoors and indoors fighting.

The default merc gadget is the drone.  I'm not sure if in the full version they'll have more, but the drone is quite nice.  Basically it's a remote control drone that you take over, leaving your body standing there.  It can fly to reach inaccessable areas, and is small enough to fit in vents.  It comes with its own short range flashlight.  When you meet a spy with your drone, you can self destruct the drone much like a grenade.  So basically they've folded the mine and camera network into one mobile gadget that you can use to kill a spy that's hiding just out of each.  The drone does have a very limited range, however, and the range is even less when in vents.

No idea if you have multiple gun types though.

As above, mercs get the presence detector, which is a nice little sonar-like device that pings enemy spies if they're anywhere within 10 meters.  There's three range bands and it'll let you know both by icon and frequency of beeping which band the spy is in.  However, unlike the previous sound meter, there's nothing saying which direction the spy is in.  Meaning that you need to move around to get an idea of where a spy is, and not simply read the sound meter to know where the spy is.  I don't think this kills the suspense of hunting down spies.  I think it might actually heighten it a bit.  Much like submarine warfare, the merc doesn't know exactly where the spy is other than that he's in a certain range.  The merc must move around to get an idea of the spy's position, which exposes him to attack, not does the merc know if the spy is above or below.  The merc also doesn't know how many spies there are, unlike the sound meter, which would show different patterns if two different spies were nearby, the presence detector only has one beep.  This makes is easier for two spies to ambush a merc.  However, if there are two mercs in a room communicating with each other, they can look at the map and their relative locations while calling out ranges to target and get a pretty good idea of where the spy is.  I do wish there was a compass in game so you could quickly call out compass directions.

Likewise the spy is in a situation where the merc knows he's there, but the merc doesn't know exactly where.  The spy knows that the merc must search the room, but he doesn't have to worry about some sound meter giving away his location if he moves about.  To attack the merc means getting up close with the merc, and the merc will know that the spy is right on top of him unless you manage to run in and get a perfect grab.  So, they basically took a page from submarine warfare to enhance the stealth based gameplay.  While it may seem like a worse change than the sound meter, I think the sound meter gave away too much information.  The combination of the presence detector and always on motion tracker does more to promote sneaky gameplay.  Not to mention that for spies, it was much too tedious (and thus not fun) to move in such a way as to not make noise on the sound meter.  This would get new players killed over and over, when they couldn't tell how the mercs where detecting them.

Mercs also now have a grenade launcher crosshair to accurately place grenades.  Simply hold down the left trigger instead of just pulling it to launch a grenade.  A series of rings will appear to show you the arc of the grenade, allowing you to accurately place grenades into vents and the like.  No more variable launch speeds.  Grenades and gadgets can be refilled too.  So while it's more difficult to pinpoint spies.

Mercs can sprint!  This'll let you actually move faster than spies for a time and level ground.  However, this also doubles as your charge and bash attack.  So if you hit a wall while sprinting you'll recoil a bit, however if you simply stop sprinting there's really no drawback, unlike previous games where you would slow down after sprinting.  If you hit a spy long the path of your sprint you'll knock him back and flat on his back.  In one game, a merc was able to catch a spy downloading from ledge from behind, he charged the spy and knocked him over the ledge, killing him.

The objective now takes longer to get, and then you must extract it too.  It's a combination of the hacking and extraction objectives from previous games.  However, it's still on a per spy basis.  There are four data terminals from which to download the data from.  But you don't actually need to be at the terminal to download, however it takes a lot more time to get the complete data package.  Then again, you can resume the download from any other terminal until you have a complete package.  So there's a nice dynamic in how you get the information.  Once you have the data, you have to reach the dropoff point.  On the merc side of this, you're no longer screwed if a spy leaves one objective at 99% completed.  So games no longer reach that point of no win situiation.  Since each objective is tracked on a per spy basis (how much they've downloaded) the objective is still to protect the four terminals but also to kill the spies to reset their download meters.  Also, unlike before none of the terminals are locked down after getting data from them, so there's no longer a situation where the spies have to take the last objective at two points right next to each other and heavy defended, nor do the mercs have to contend with defending two nearly complete objectives at opposite ends of the map.

One major problem I see is that the spy and merc models are a bit too similar in silhouette.  They're roughly the same height and build, with the same tight fitting clothing.  Since a lot of the game is played in the dark with high contrast lighitng, some new players will mistake mercs for spies at a distance.


My overall impressions for this new mp mode is great.  It's a bit faster and more dynamic than before, but more importantly it's a lot more accessable with the emphasis taken off gadget play and knowing little tricks, to moving around the map, getting close and personal (or trying not to).

Also, this demo shows only one of the MP modes.  If I recall there's a more team-death match oriented mode where you have both mercs and spies on the same team fighting against an opposite team of the same composition.  There was also word of some spy only modes where you compete or fight with other spies.  Oh, and the demo does include a co-op mode.
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