The Update

Keeping you constant on all things gaming.

Archive for January, 2009

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.

Posted in News, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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

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

Left 4 Dead Survival Guide

Posted by haunt506e on January 11, 2009

Left 4 Dead Survival Guide

Left 4 Dead Survival GuideLeft 4 Dead took the world of multiplayer gaming by storm earlier in the fourth quarter of 2008 when it released the amazingly addictive cooperative and adversarial multiplayer model that defines the core of its game play.  While a first play through in normal mode or possibly even easy mode will leave you aching for more, the game doesn’t really pick up the pace until Advanced or Expert mode, where teams must really come together if they hope to survive the zombie apocalypse.

That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun if it isn’t played in Expert mode.  On the contrary, the following strategies won’t really be necessary unless you and your teammates are playing on at least Advanced mode, or in Versus mode.

The following “Survival Guide” will teach you just that: how to survive in Left 4 Dead’s zombie-infested universe.  I’ll be covering a few general tactics, as well as a vast multitude of tactics specific to dealing with the game’s infected “classes.”  I will be detailing how to survive in Left 4 Dead, so you’ll have to wait for a little while until I can upload an “infected” guide.

This guide will assist any players who are playing either the cooperative, splitscreen, or solo Campaign mode, or when these players are on the survivors side during a Versus match.

In addition, I’d also like to note that all block quotes used in this guide are taken directly from Left 4 Dead’s user manual, specifically the Xbox 360 version’s.

And now, the Left 4 Dead “Survival Guide.”

Tactics:

  • Teamwork: If you’ve played even just one campaign in Left 4 Dead all the way through, you’ll have already noticed the huge emphasis on teamwork in the game.  That being said, if you are playing online, even with people you don’t know, you should always, always use your microphone.  By use I don’t mean have it plugged in.  You should be talking to your teammates, telling them where to go next, or who needs to be healed, or to alert them of a nearby boomer.  Without this important element, your team won’t get very far.  In addition to the “communication” part of teamwork, you should also be ready to make sacrifices in order to save your teammates.  Don’t be afraid to give up your medkit to help out a guy in red, even if you’re already in yellow.  The team only functions at 100% if all members are there helping, and, when one guy goes down, a respective 25% of the team’s efficiency is dropped as well.
  • Variety: Use a bit of variety when selecting your weapons.  Don’t let everybody just grab the shotgun.  Stick with the weapons you’re good at, but don’t limit yourself to just one.  You’ll need close ranged weapons and long ranged ones in almost every single circumstance, so its good to diversify your team’s loadout.
  • Melee: Whether you’re fighting common infected or specials, the melee button is a very important one to remember.  Sure, you can kill infected in one shot simply pulling the trigger, but by only relying on the trigger button, you’ll be subject to a continuous stream of damage from the infected that you haven’t shot yet.  Meleeing will knock infected back long enough for you to take a few out and melee more back again.  When done correctly, you will take significantly less damage if you remember the melee button than if you only stick with the trigger button.
  • Listen: Each infected type is signaled by a unique sound cue.  Listen for these sounds attentively, and it will be difficult to be caught off guard.  Playing loud music while simultaneously playing Left 4 Dead is not recommended.

Common Infected Tactics:Common Infected

  • Listen: Common infected will make weird noises when milling about on the roads and in houses, but what will signal a horde rush is a noticeable change in the background music.  The music will become much more fast-paced, and, when the horde picks up, the music will become frantic, with a quick steady beat in the background.
  • Kill from Afar: When milling about, commons are easy to pick off with either the Assault Rifle, Hunting Rifle, or the Pistol.  Using the Uzi, Shotgun, or Auto-Shotgun will work, but will be significantly less effective.  It should be noted that the commons that are milling about are very easy to take out, but if you miss a few, be prepared to lose a few health points, because they can sneak up on you before you know it.  This rule applies to horde rushes as well, as a horde rush can be easily dealt with if all team members concentrate their fire on the horde as it rushes.  However, not all hordes will come from a long distance, and, more often than not, they’ll rush through a room right next to your group and this advice will go out the window.
  • Cornered: Being cornered is not in any way shape or form, a bad thing.  Being cornered (literally, being forced into the intersection of two perpendicular walls) will help you in more ways than one.  First, you won’t have to worry about infected coming from behind.  Second, there’s a good chance that you can escape without taking any damage, as long as you constantly melee the horde.  Third, you won’t be a drain on your teammates because you are almost self-sufficient for a small amount of time.  However, hiding in a corner alone isn’t a game winning tactic, and you’ll have to move some time.  Using this strategy will only help during rushes.

Meet the zombie horde: eerily fast, sensitive to loud noises and movement, and able to attack in ravenous waves.  Luckily, you’ll be given helpful warnings throughout the game to avoid horde attacks.

Hunter Tactics: Hunter

  • Listen: Hunters don’t change the background music, but they can easily be identified by a low growling noise, as well as a high-pitched screeching noise when they pounce.  Hunters will only emit the growl when they are crouched, and will only screech when they have pounced.  When you hear either, alert your teammates.
  • Kill from Afar: While difficult to do, killing Hunters from afar is not impossible.  It will save you a lot of time and trouble by simply shooting a Hunter from a distance rather than wait for it to get up close.
  • Melee: While killing Hunters with your gun is enjoyable and easy, it is sometimes more beneficial for your teammates’ (and your own) health if you melee the Hunter first, and then gun it down.  This applies to Hunters who are jumping at you, and to Hunters who are already pinning one of your teammates.  Meleeing will instantly knock them backwards or off of your friends, and will stun them for a few seconds, alllowing you to pop them quickly before moving onwards.
  • Pinned: In the event that a Hunter successfully pins you, don’t scream at your teammates.  They are more likely to help you if you calmly alert them that there is, in fact, a Hunter ripping your guts out at the moment.  If said Hunter kills you, its alright to get a little heated, but don’t take it out on your teammates (unless they sat there and literally watched you die).  Whether you’re on a ledge and they don’t have Line of Sight, or they’re getting rushed at the time, or are possibly even blinded by Boomer Bile, sometimes it’s just really difficult for your teammates to give up their own well-being long enough to save your ass.

Boomer Tactics:Boomer

  • Listen: Like Hunters, Boomers will not change the background music.  They will, however, emit disgusting gurgling noises wherever they go, and are really easy to hear if you pay attention.
  • Kill from Afar: This is a must for Boomers.  If you see a Boomer, or maybe just the Boomer’s enormous gut, take a shot at it, even if you don’t have a big chance of hitting it.  Boomers have very little health, and shooting the Boomer from afar will kill it faster than you realize.  Taking these Boomers out will save you from at least one or more horde rushes.
  • Dodge: When Boomers get close enough to you to vomit, you can try to hide behind a wall, door, or really any object big enough to shield you.  This will block the vomit and will give you a chance to beat back the Boomer and take him out.  I’ve dodged many a Boomer’s Bile attacks by simply closing the door in his face.
  • Melee: If a Boomer winds up directly in front of you, don’t panic and unload on him with your gun.  This will cause him to explode and will cover you and any nearby teammates with Boomer Bile, blinding you and summoning the horde.  Instead, take your time to melee the Boomer, who will be stunned and will be pushed several feet backwards.  After you melee him, take a few steps backwards yourself, and, when no teammates are near it, blow the monster to pieces.
  • Slimed: If you are unfortunate enough to get covered in bile, again, don’t panic.  Take time to find a corner and dig in there, spamming melee if you have to.  This is another time when teamwork is important.  When you are blinded, you can’t see where your teammates are by using the little blue, orange, or red outlines.  You’ll have to rely on communication to find out where your friends are, and whether they’re being eaten by a Hunter or not.

Smoker Tactics: Smoker

  • Listen: Smokers will change the background music and will also emit their own characteristic sounds.  A Smoker will be “announced” to players by a quick out of place piano note.  While its difficult to pick out of the background music, this subtle note will alert survivors of the Smoker’s presence, and looking for this sound will without doubt increase your chances of survival.  In addition, Smoker’s emit coughing noises, as well as strange slurping sounds whenever they attack.
  • Kill from Afar: This is perhaps the most difficult class to kill from afar, but knowing how to find a Smoker and take it out is a necessary skill.  If a teammate gets dragged and is too far away to save, trace the tongue that is dragging him, crouch down when you’ve spotted the Smoker, and take several burst shots until the Smoker dies in a cloud of smoke.  Don’t try this with a shotgun…  You can also shoot the tongue if you can’t find the Smoker, although the tongue is harder to hit than the actual Smoker.
  • Melee: Meleeing the Smoker, or his victim, is the easiest and quickest way to get rid of him.  When he grabs an ally, all you have to do is walk up to that ally and melee him or her, which will break the Smoker’s hold.  If the Smoker is closer to you than the ally is, you can alternatively walk up to the Smoker and smack him in the face, which will not only release his hold, but will also stun him, allowing you a few seconds to take him out.
  • Dragged: Like the Hunter, if you find yourself being dragged by a Smoker, don’t panic.  Take time to alert your teammates calmly, and give them time to find you and either melee you or take out the Smoker.  If they don’t know that meleeing the Smoker’s victim will free said victim, it helps to let them know, but don’t be a jerk about it.  Smokers do less damage than a Hunter, so if a team has to prioritize, let them kill any pouncing Hunters first.

Tank Tactics: Tank

  • Listen: Tanks will change the background music drastically.  It will become even more frantic than when the horde is upon you, and the Tank’s unique music will override any other cues, making it difficult to pick out a Smoker or a Boomer when you’re getting attacked by a Tank.  Tanks can also be found if you hear a strange growling noise.  It’s difficult to describe, but, if you enter a room, hear the noise, and then the Tank’s music starts, you’ll know what it sounds like.  Unfortunately, it seems that whenever you hear the Tank’s growling, you are already too close, and the music will start even if you backtrack.
  • Kill from Afar: This is without doubt the most important advice for killing a Tank.  Don’t let a Tank get close to you, and you’ll be fine.  Survivors in green health will be able to outrun any Tank except a Tank in Expert mode, which will run as fast as the green survivors.  If you’re in red or yellow, you aren’t screwed, but you do have to be more careful.  Use the environment to cut corners and run in small windows or doors that may slow down the Tank.  Tanks will generally pick a target and chase it until it either gets too far away or it dies.  It’s run-and-gun when dealing with a Tank, and if you’re not its target, you should be crouching and shooting, so you can get more shots in.
  • Molotovs: Molotovs are very effective on Tanks, but should really only be used when playing in either Advanced or Expert Campaign mode.  When a Tank is on fire, the fire doesn’t deal any additional damage, but instead sets the Tank on a “timer.”  After the timer runs out, the Tank will die, regardless of how much damage it took.  Shooting a Tank while it’s on fire will kill it just as fast as shooting a Tank that isn’t on fire.  On Expert mode, its often easiest to just light the Tank and run, as Expert Tanks have a ton of health.
  • Cornered: Getting cornered by a Tank isn’t something you want to shoot for, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re dead.  Alert your teammates, and have them stand behind the Tank while they unload on it.  If they respond quick enough, you may just survive.  In Versus mode, if you’re downed, the Tank player will generally leave you and go attack your other teammates.  It’s a good idea to revive any downed teammates whenever you get the chance during a fight with a Tank, because if you all get downed, you’ll lose.

Witch Tactics:Witch

  • Listen: Witches can be distinguished by their crying.  It will intensify and the music will get creepier as you get closer.  Using these music changes will help you avoid the Witch, even if you never set eyes upon her.  When she has been startled, she’ll start making a strange scream, and the music will become frantic.
  • Avoid: If you’re able to, just bypass the Witch.  She isn’t worth the trouble.
  • Kill from Afar: If you can’t walk past her, you might have to gun her down.  Under certain circumstances your team can simultaneously open fire on the Witch and she will die before she reaches your group.  However, these circumstances are few and far between, so don’t count on having the advantage of distance all the time.  Alternatively, one player can startle the Witch and run, and, provided the Witch doesn’t reach the runner, you’ll come out of the encounter unscathed.  This method is a bit too chaotic, however, and isn’t recommended.
  • Crown’d: The Crown’d method is the best way to take a Witch out if sneaking isn’t an option.  To do this, you’ll need a Shotgun.  One-shotting the Witch is easiest with the pump-action Shotgun, but is possible with both.  What you’ll need to do is sneak up behind the Witch, wait for her to look around at you and stand up, and then pump a few rounds into her head.  Don’t stop to see if you got her in one shot, because the moment she turns around, you’re downed.
  • Molotovs: The only reason you should be using a Molotov on the Witch is to get the achievement.  Other than that, don’t be an idiot and try to light her on fire…

Witches only want to be left alone so they can enjoy a good cry. They hate fl ashlights and loud noises, but what they hate more than anything is being shot at. If you hear the Witch’s tell tale sobs, turn off your flashlights and try to sneak around her. If she starts to get angry, her growl will let you know she’s close to attacking.

Tips N4G

Posted in Game Guides, PC, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Lord of the Rings: Conquest Demo Now Available

Posted by haunt506e on January 4, 2009

ConquestSo after checking all my feeds and news sites for something to blog about, I happened upon word of a demo for LotR: Conquest being available on Xbox Live.  I figured it might be worthwhile to check out, as, if you’re a listener of the show, you’ll recall us discussing the game earlier on in.  So after the long download, I jumped into the training mission of the demo.

This segment was done pretty well actually, letting you know how to play while also putting you into the action from the start.  LotR: Conquest’s tutorial puts you into the first final battle with Sauron (don’t know what it’s called, I’m not a Lord of the Rings buff), and allows you to choose between four classes, which are focused on throughout the tutorial.  The warrior, my personal favorite class, is introduced first.  He can chain together some pretty cool combos and use a fire sword ability to dish out some major damage.  Unfortunately, it gets boring somewhat rapidly, and you’ll soon be stuck waiting for more goblins to spawn because you are killing them off too quickly.

Conquest

Tree Ents are one of the many player-controlled vehicles of the game, and can only be taken down by executing a series of randomized button presses, akin to God of War.

The next class introduced is the archer, the basic ranged unit.  He can’t do too much, and has to attack from afar with his poison, fire, and multi-shot arrow attacks.  His only melee attack is a weak kick, serving only to push enemies backwards so you can kite them around.  Next up is the scout, a rogue-like class that can stealth himself and assassinate enemies.  He’s pretty fun in the tutorial, and also in the multiplayer, but, aside from his assassination attack, he seems a bit useless.  The mage, playable lastly, is a fireball throwing, shield conjuring, shockwave master.  In short, he sits back and cast spells, which may seem fun at first, but due to the clunky gameplay (to be explained later), even the mage’s otherworldly powers become dull fast.

Now, these classes may or may not seem fun, but what killed this game for me was the clunkiness of this game’s actual game play.  This clunkiness first makes its appearance to us in the menus, where in order to play a multiplayer match, you must register with EA.  I mean really, this is Xbox Live people, we shouldn’t have to register with a third-party company just to play a game.  And its even worse because EA only uses these accounts to spam out previews for all the sub-par sequels that they’re publishing.

Regarding actual game play, two battlefields will be available in the demo: Minas Tirith and The Shire.  These environments are pretty well constructed, and, while the level designs could have been better, they offer a nice balanced field of play.  When fighting with large amounts of players on the screen, the game gets clunky, and not in a frame-rate-dropping-sort-of-way.  When I mean it gets choppy, I mean that when characters attack, their combos are so “cinematic,” that you could be executing a lengthy 5 or 6 button combo when suddenly, mid-combo, your character gets knocked flat by some random arrow and must lay around on the ground, rolling around for a few seconds, before he can get back and restart his combo.  By that time, the person you were fighting will have either finished you off or will have fallen victim to the same sort of interruption.

The game is like trying to play a fighting game with 16 fighters instead of 2.  The combat is slow and clunky, and the combos take entirely too long to pull off, resulting in slow moving characters that have to stop for an unimaginably long amount of time just to swing their sword at an enemy.  With a game like Starwars: Battlefront under their belts, you’d think Pandemic would be able to not only make this game chaotic, but also fun to play and somewhat face-paced.  Lord of the Rings: Conquest is just chaotic.

I realize that this is only a demo and therefore I’d like to remind you that this is just a demo review/ game preview, and that no final opinions have been disclosed in the above text.

Tips N4G

Posted in News, Previews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 1 Comment »