The Update

Keeping you constant on all things gaming.

Open Discussion – Mass Effect 2 Lightyears Ahead of Dragon Age

Posted by haunt506e on February 1, 2010

Just figured I’d go ahead and throw that out there. Having played both of Bioware’s recent releases, I’ve noticed what appears to be a disparity in quality between the two. In one corner lies Dragon Age, which fits the basic model of a Bioware release, yet falls short in numerous ways. In the other lies Mass Effect, which excels in every area possible. Why are the production standards so much different?

Sure, both projects were worked on by different teams and the like, but both should have been given equal peace of mind. Mass Effect’s graphics are more polished, its sound of a higher quality, its voice overs superior, and its combat much more interesting. Mass Effect even just seems to flow so much better. Dragon Age, on the other hand, suffers from weak graphics, average voice acting, and bland background sounds. Dragon Age’s side quests feel like a chore, whereas I wonder whether I will be able to complete Mass Effect’s main story arch without first finishing all of the side stories.

So why the disparity? Was Dragon Age rushed so as not to take sales away from Mass Effect? Voice your opinion, let us know the reason.

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Quick Post – Guild Wars 2, Classes Trailer

Posted by haunt506e on December 6, 2009

ArenaNet has just released a new trailer for your viewing pleasure.  This particular trailer drops a few more details in regard to Tyria’s 5 new playable races: the Norn, Asura, Sylvari, Charr, and Humans.  Several nice gameplay clips are also included.  Check out their website here for more information about the game in general.  Guild Wars 2 is expected to drop sometime in 2010 or 2011 as an MMORPG without a monthly subscription fee, similar to the first title.  I know I’ll be picking this one up.

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Quick Post – Alliance of Valiant Arms

Posted by haunt506e on November 30, 2009

I was surfing around the net for free games (as I always do every now and again) when I came across an FPS by the name of Alliance of Valiant Arms (developed by ijji).  So I downloaded it, and, after being forced to install like 3 other programs, started up the title.  If you’ve ever played the free game Combat Arms before, AVA is quite similar.  It’s a free FPS so don’t expect anything crazy in terms of graphics, but as far as free games go, the graphics are above average.  It’s gameplay is highly reminiscent of any other online FPS title, with your standard deathmatch-style game types.  The game plays out fairly smooth, and you’ll be able to get a couple hours or two worth of enjoyment without paying a cent.  However, the game’s longevity depends on whether or not you’re ready to shell out money in its item shop.  You can use guns and items in the game without paying money, but if you really want to customize your character or differentiate yourself from other players, you’ll have to use ijji’s points system (and thus, cash).

AVA is a nice game to get in a couple of hours of fun, but I can’t see myself getting addicted to it for any length of time.  If you’re just looking for something to do on a rainy day, give AVA a try.  You can check it out here.

Are you a fan of any other free online games?  Leave us a comment and let us know.

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Now Available – Borderlands DLC

Posted by haunt506e on November 27, 2009

Borderlands, Gearbox Software’s hit FPS/RPG hybrid, has just been expanded even further with their first DLC.  Running for about $10.00, Dr. Ned’s Zombie Island packs in new zones, enemies, characters, missions, guns, and more.  Players can expect a couple hours of gameplay to be added, and for ten more bucks Borderlands’ appeal has gone even further skyward.  Borderlands is already one of my favorite games of 2009, and this DLC is a must buy for me.  Expect a review to be posted soon!

Check out Borderland’s official web site for more information.

Posted in PC, Playstation 3, Videogames, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Open Discussion – Facebook on Xbox Live

Posted by haunt506e on November 23, 2009

A recent update has added several new features to Xbox Live, available exclusively to Gold Members, as far as I am aware.  This bundle of apps includes access to Facebook, Twitter, Zune HD, and Last.fm.  But my question for you is this: Are these applications even useful?

Obviously they’re a marketing ploy to get more potential users to become Gold Members, but does putting Facebook onto the Xbox add that much to its value?  Ordinarily, if the developer team had set it up “correctly,” I would say yes.  However, Facebook on the Xbox 360 is too cumbersome and overall useless to make Gold Members look like they’re getting an even better deal.  For starters, players may only access the four new features from the dashboard.  So, if you want to check statuses, you will have to exit out of the game you’re playing and switch over to the Facebook app.  All total that ordeal will blow anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of gaming time.  You can just as easily stand up, walk over to your PC, open up your web browser and navigate to Facebook, all under 2 or 3 minutes.  In addition, the Xbox 360 app is incredibly limited, allowing you to do very little in the way of navigating friends’ posts, pictures, etc…

What would I have done?  I wouldn’t have tried to add Facebook, Twitter, or Last.fm.  The Zune thing isn’t as bad as the other apps, but is still a waste.  If I absolutely had to add any of these apps, I would certainly have made them accessible through the Guide Button.  These four new apps will be appreciated for a few days or weeks, then quickly forgotten, along with all of the work that went into making them available.

What do you think?  Is there any potential for these new applications?

Posted in Videogames, Xbox 360 | Leave a Comment »

Quick Post – Lag Infects Left 4 Dead 2?

Posted by haunt506e on November 19, 2009

Last night after work I picked up Valve’s sequel to Left 4 Dead.  L4D2 came out this Tuesday, November 17th, and has since been rated consistently high on numerous gaming sites.  The game follows in its prequel’s foot steps by confronting a team of 4 player controlled characters with hordes upon hordes of bloodthirsty zombies.  Players must progress through several unique “Campaigns,” or levels, making their way from check point to check point while trying to stay alive.  It’s a pretty simple formula that plays out impressively well.

Thus far I have enjoyed my single player experience of the game, but trying to take Left 4 Dead 2 online is an entirely different story.  It appears that somewhere, somehow, due to some unforeseen circumstance(s), Valve’s L4D2 dedicated servers are having troubles.  What little research I have done on the subject seems to suggest that their system is networking players with servers that are no where near their location, and this malfunction has been unfortunately causing massive amounts of lag in L4D2’s multiplayer games.  The game even becomes unplayable when too many players are present.  I’m fine with waiting for the problem to get fixed, but don’t please don’t keep us waiting too long.

L4D2 isn’t exactly the definition of a PGN supported title, but it’s a great value nonetheless, in terms of what you receive for your cash.  The game features an approximately five hour long single player experience, with each one hour segment replayable in several unique multiplayer modes.  If you like zombies and multiplayer titles, it’s a must buy.

Left 4 Dead 2 will be covered in this week’s episode of the PGN Podcast.

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Freebie – League of Legends

Posted by haunt506e on November 17, 2009

Defense Against the Ancient (DotA) Fans will have no doubt have heard of its creators’ newest standalone game entitled League of Legends.  If you have never heard of either game, however, you’ll be happy to know that you can download and play League of Legends for free.  The game features an addictive blend of RPG and RTS, having players control one hero character and guide them around the map, using skills to aid their computer-controlled minions in battle.  The game is surprisingly deep for as simple as it might sound, and an incredibly great deal for the amount of content that free accounts receive.  You can, of course, pay money to receive more characters and champions to use, but if you’re just looking for a simple game to pass the time every now and again, you won’t have to pay a cent.

Head on over to their website, download the client and try a game or two.  League of Legends is free and enjoyable, just the type of games we support here at the PGN.  Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back often!

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Left 4 Dead, Survival Pack Review

Posted by haunt506e on April 28, 2009

Left 4 Dead Survival Mode

Wow its been a while… Feels kind of weird posting here since the last time I did so was way back in January (I think).

Anyways, I’m here with a quick review of Left 4 Dead’s latest DLC, the Survival Pack.  First off, you should know that this pack is free, so if you don’t have it yet, you probably haven’t played Left 4 Dead in weeks or just don’t have access to the internet on your gaming console.  The pack adds three main features to the game: Survival Mode, Last Stand, and new Versus Mode Capabilities and Restructuring.  I’ll go over each in a paragraph or so, and will be keeping this review fairly short and low-key, if that’s the correct phrase.

Ok, so, Survival Mode.  If you’ve played Gears of War 2 (if you own an Xbox 360, you probably have), then you’ll be familiar with its Horde mode.  While not an entirely unique concept, Horde mode pits a team of players against wave after wave of bad guys, with various leaderboards for completing the gauntlet.  Survival mode works in the same way, except it is much more intense, much more difficult, and much more rewarding (not really though).  In Survival mode you find yourself in a small area, usually a small segment of one of the larger campaigns, and are given tons upon tons of items with which to fend off a never-ending horde of infected.  Once you start the timer, you’re given three goals: at 4 minutes you will win the Bronze medal, at 7 the Silver, and at 10 the Gold.  Taking the Gold Medal isn’t an easy feat by a long shot, and in most cases you’ll be lucky to survive to get Silver.  For the first few minutes, a Tank appears about every minute and a half or so, and several special infected come and go in between, in addition to the normal infected.  After about 6 minutes or so, however, you’ll notice things tend to get a bit more chaotic.  You’ll sometimes face up to four smokers at once, and even have to fend off against two tanks simultaneously.

Survival Mode works pretty well and has a surprisingly high replay value, but what other new content has Valve added besides a new game mode?  To complement the Survival Mode game type, Valve has created a map especially built for the mode: Last Stand.  This map, just the perfect size for Survival Mode games, consists of a coastal lighthouse and a few surrounding woods and roads.  The lighthouse is loaded with Propane and Petroleum Canisters, Molotovs, Pipe Bombs, and every other kind of weapon imaginable.  The areas and rooms in the lighthouse are very well done and are just as detailed as any other location you would find in Left 4 Dead’s four original campaigns.  While Last Stand’s efficiency in the Survival Mode game type is arguable, it fits right in with the rest of all that is Left 4 Dead.

Finally, we have the new Versus mode feature.  Valve has finally updated the remaining two campaigns, Death Toll and Dead Air, to be available for online adversarial game play.  The two maps play just as well as the original two versus-capable campaigns, and new tweaks have allowed for even fewer bugs and hacks to be exploited.  I don’t have a whole lot to say regarding the two new versus maps, except that it extends the game’s replay value tremendously.  I spent hours upon hours playing just two campaigns in versus, and now I’ve got two more.  Joy.

Left 4 Dead’s newest DLC is without a doubt a Great Buy, if you can even call it that (it’s free of charge).  If you own the game, are connected to the internet, and have the time, I suggest you go out, download it now and try it out tonight.

So that’s the new Left 4 Dead Survival Pack in a nut-shell.  If you’ve got your own comments to add, feel free to leave a reply.  As always, don’t forget to bookmark us and subscribe to me on Twitter.

Posted in Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Halo Wars Demo Coming Soon

Posted by haunt506e on January 24, 2009

Halo Wars

Just as I, and presumably thousands of other gamers, had hoped, a Halo Wars Demo has been announced, and will be avialable for download off of the Xbox Live Marketplace in less than two weeks.  I’ve done several other posts on the game, but, as far as gameplay goes, not many game sites have had the chance to play Halo Wars.  On February 5th, gamers around the world will be able to experience this revolutionary title for themselves.

The demo includes a “Beginner” Tutorial as well as an “Advanced” Tutorial, which will allows new players to get the hang of the game’s controls, which have been specifically designed for the 360’s controller.  When you’ve figured out the basics, Ensemble has also packaged the first two Campaign missions with the demo as well, so you can get a brief view of Halo War’s deep story, set 20 years before the events of the first Halo.  When you’re done playing the Campaign modes, the demo is also packaged with Chasms, one of Halo Wars’ 14 multiplayer maps.  However, the announcements were a little fuzzy on whether the demo would feature multiplayer over Xbox Live, like the real game will.  I do know that players can play against the A.I. as either the Covenants or the USNC Marines, so players will be able to check out both armies.

The game looks very promising, and the demo will either guarantee more sales or less, depending on how well the game plays.  For me, the only way that this game could get screwed up is if Ensemble’s control schemes were a little on the cumbersome side.  However, I’ve read in several magazines and on several news sites that, despite RTS Games generally failing on the 360, Halo Wars’ will hopefully break that mold.  Check out the Halo Wars demo this February 5th, and, if you can’t wait, you can check out the Halo Wars Video Documentary on Xbox Live in the Video Marketplace.

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Resident Evil 5 Demo Infecting the U.S. on January 26th

Posted by haunt506e on January 15, 2009

Resident Evil 5Japanese players have had their hands on this demo for a long time, but the Resident Evil 5 demo is now making its way across the Pacific to the U.S., so we can finally check it out. The demo will be making its debute on the 360 on January 26th, the PS3 demo following a week later, on February 5th. There wasn’t any mention as to why the demo was made available only on the 360, but it really shouldn’t be considered a big deal. After all, in Japan, the only way to access the demo on the PS3 was with a bonus disc that came with the system.

What’s actually in the demo? Well, I’ve got details on that as well. Joystiq‘s report lists the demo as featuring two levels that can be played in solo mode or cooperatively, online or offline. I don’t know how long each of these levels will last, but I’m guessing that the entire demo will be completable in under an hour, so it shouldn’t take too long to finish the two playable levels. The cooperative aspect of the game will no doubt extend the replayability of it, and the game’s overal “experience,” but I’m not really sure it’ll make it a buy for me. I like the survival horror genre, but Resident Evil, at least the way these games are set up, has become more action horror than survival horror.  Or maybe it was always action horror. Either way, at this point in time, I’m unsure about myself purchasing this game.

Anyways, be sure to check out this demo when it becomes available at the end of January. In addition, be sure to check out the Resident Evil 5 TGS Trailer, that will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for a free download this January 16th, tomorrow.

Tips N4G

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