The Update

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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

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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 »

Left 4 Dead DLC Officially Announced

Posted by haunt506e on December 29, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Yes, it’s true,  DLC (Down-loadeable? Content) has been announced for my favorite game of 2008, Left 4 Dead.  The hit post-apocalyptic zombie shooter isn’t yet 2 months old and some new content has been announced for it.  A video podcast from Kotaku reveals an interview with Chet Faliszek, one of Valve’s writers.  In the interview, Faliszek hints at the announcement of specific DLC for both the 360 and PC versions, possibly the ability to play the other additional 2 campaigns (Dead Air and Death Toll) in versus mode.  If we’re lucky, we might even see a new campaign.

On an earlier post by 1UP (I’m sorry, don’t have the link), another Valve member hinted at a new weapon, the flame thrower, to be included soon in DLC.  This DLC was to be free on the PC version, but apparently Valve has had some difficulties with Microsoft’s allowing them to do the same on the Xbox 360.

There’s not a whole lot of information yet, but we’ve been told that the new DLC will be revealed “really soon,” so we’ll just have to wait until Valve unveals exactly what’s going to be made available to its customers.  Expect more news and blog posts on any future Left 4 Dead news and reports right here at The Update.

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

Xbox Live Updates

Posted by haunt506e on December 20, 2008

I’ll start off with a quick apology before getting into the actual blog post real fast.  Sorry that I haven’t been updating the blog with any new stories or posts recently, but it’s been pretty hectic for me this week with finals and things like that, things that add up.  But yeah, I’m back and have a quick story to cove, with some word on the podcast after the main post.  Here we go!

New Xbox Experience Updates

Alright so if you’re an Xbox 360 player who’s connected to Live or who has bought a 360 within like the last month or so, you’ll be playing your console using the newest dashboard update, nicknamed the “New Xbox Experience.”  You will have also created your Avatar, the little Mii-like figure that represents your online self.  Well, as promised, Microsoft has already released several new clothes packs for free to their customers, the first being an actual clothes pack that was released a couple weeks back, and the second a clothes pack featuring “fancy” clothes, including tuxedos for men and various dresses for women.

I don’t really want to focus too much on the clothes, because they’re there if you want to check them out and customize your avatar, but I’d rather like to talk about how Microsoft actually seems to be taking these characters seriously.  Nintendo released their little Mii guys with the standard clothes and sets of eyes, faces, etc., but to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think that Nintendo has released any additions (none free at least) to these Mii things.  Microsoft has not only added several new items (for free) to their Avatars, but they’ve also tossed a few freebies our way via the marketplace, taking the form of a free winter premium theme and a snowglobe.

The theme is pretty neat for being free.  The background is a small town filled with holiday lights and covered by snow, and it fits the season very well.  In addition, when you look at your friends list, you’ll notice present rappings and other seasonal items behind each of your friends or their parties.  It’s a nice touch, and its free, so check it out.  The snowglobe is kind of a waste, but its pretty much a virtual snowglobe…  That’s about all I have to say about that.

Holiday Snowglobe

The Snowglobe is... Cool...

My point is that Microsoft is actually updating and taking care of their consoles and their customers, and, while yes, the 360 still succumbs to the dreadful red ring of death fatal system error, it remains one of the best consoles on the market because of this kind of support.  Live is what makes the 360, and these updates are what make Live.  The NXE was a huge success, and Microsoft shows that they want to continue making it a success in the eyes of its customers.  Kudos to Microsoft for putting this kind of stuff out for free.

As for the Update This podcast, it’s still going, but we’ve been having difficulty scheduling times over the holidays, so it may be postponed until after the holidays.  Until then keep track of all the happenings around here by checking back on the site and following me on twitter (Haunt506e).

Posted in News, Xbox 360 | Leave a Comment »

Halo Wars Gets a Delayed Release Date

Posted by haunt506e on December 8, 2008

Halo WarsHalo Wars, Ensemble Studio’s last project as Ensemble, takes the Halo franchise to the real-time strategy battlefield, where players assume control of hundreds of units, rather than just one single character.  If you haven’t heard of Ensemble studios, you’ll perhaps recognize them by their flagship franchise, Age of Empires.  While Age of Empires has lost its appeal and steam over the past few years, Halo Wars has done nothing but gather up its own layer of hype.  It always astounds me how the gaming community gets so excited for each successive Halo release, yet get pissed off at the developers when the game finally releases.  It doesn’t make much sense to me, but maybe gamers should just stop setting their hopes up so high.

Halo Wars Screenshot

Originally intended as an RTS, the Halo franchise finally makes its way into the strategy genre in Halo Wars.

Anyways, an earlier post here at The Update has outlined the game’s various release packages, the two of which are aimed at the casual gamers and hardcore collectors, respectively.  The game, while exclusive to the Xbox 360, is shaping up to be one hell of a purchase, for RTS fans or Halo fans alike.  For those interested, Halo Wars delves further into Halo’s rich lore (most of which has been developed over time in the Halo novels), and puts you in command of different units from the Halo universe, some of which are taken from the novels in addition to the games.

There have already been several videos posted up around the net on Halo Wars, as well as a few trailers posted up on the Xbox Live Marketplace.  If you’ve got the time, I encourage you to check them out, there’s several good ones in there, including a lengthy game play preview.

So yes, Halo Wars is coming out, but now, the reason for this blog post.  Halo Wars was originally slated for a release date near the end of February.  The U.S. release has now been delayed, however, and Halo Wars’ release has now turned into one of the only times I have seen the European players get the game before the U.S. players (in Xbox 360 releases that is).  For those interested, Halo Wars will debute on February 27th for European players, and on March 3rd for U.S. players.  The game is pretty high up on my list of games to buy for 2008, so I’ll have to see how well it turns out.

Posted in News, Previews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Halo 3 Overtakes Gears of War 2

Posted by haunt506e on December 5, 2008

Halo 3For even as great a game as Gears of War 2 it appears that unseating the multiplayer king from its throne was just too difficult a task.  Or was it that great of a game?  According to a recent blog post by Gamecyte, it looks like Gears of War 2 was more on the mediocre side, at least in terms of online play time.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)
1    Halo 3
2    Gears of War 2
3    CoD: World at War
4    Call of Duty 4
5    GTA IV
6    Fable II
7    Left 4 Dead
8    Madden NFL 09
9    Fallout 3
10   FIFA 09

Top Arcade Titles (Full Versions purchased)
1    Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
2    A Kingdom for Keflings
3    UNO
4    Castle Crashers
5    Worms
6    Portal: Still Alive
7    Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
8    Aegis Wing
9    Bomberman Live
10   Assault Heroes

The above arcade list is based on full versions purchased.

Original Xbox Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)
1    Halo 2
2    Star Wars: Battlfrnt 2
3    Fable
4    Counter-Strike
5    Call of Duty 3
6    Battlefield 2: MC
7    Conker: Live Reloaded
8    Street Fighter Anniv.
9    Star Wars: Battlefront
10   Splinter Cell Chaos

These lists are based on global unique users connected to Xbox Live or in the case of Arcade, full versions purchased that week.

Judgement DayFor Call of Duty 4, it took several months of a constant back and forth battle before Master Chief could reassert his rule over the Xbox Live domain.  Grand Theft Auto IV was the only other game to knock Halo 3 off of the #1 position, but after a reported 3 updates, even GTAIV couldn’t stand up to Bungie’s creation.  Gears of War 2 had its chance to remain at the top after it briefly took the #1 spot, but EPIC threw away that chance by maintaining a laggy, slow, bug-filled multiplayer experience that was just a hastle to even think about playing.  After the smoke cleared, Halo 3 regained its title after less than a month of the whole Gears of War 2 ordeal.

Gears of War 2 now stands at #2, and by the looks of it, it’s dropping.  The only guys on my friends that I notice playing the game now are people that were huge fans of the original Gears, back when Gears 1 was the #1 most played game on Xbox Live.  I think what happened to Gears of War 2 is that players finished the single player campaign, played a few matches of multiplayer, got agitated by the whole mess, ejected the disc, and put in another game, most likely CoD5 or CoD4, which are now fighting each other for the #3 spot.

Chainsaw DuelSo what exactly happened to Gears of War 2?  We’ve established that the multiplayer sucks, but I will give it kudos in that its take on multiplayer is an improvement over the original Gears.  Improving on garbage isn’t difficult to do, but despite being garbage, the original Gears of War held its position at the top for several months, until Halo 3 came along.  It seems kind of strange that Gears 2, an improvement over Gears 1, couldn’t even hold #1 for even a month, and even more shocking, the game was overtaken by Halo 3, a game that’s not only been out for a year, but one that’s also been heavily criticized by the gaming community as being “overrated.”  (I don’t think Halo 3 deserves some of the punishment it has been getting, but I could talk about why all day long).

New multiplayer matchmaking systems have been layed down by games like Halo 3 and the two Call of Duty games.  While Halo 3 arguably “started it all,” and still maintains an incredible online community, CoD4 and 5 have both contributed to the development of matchmaking in their own way.  Gears of War 2, on the otherhand, seems to have taken a step in the opposite direction, and, because of this, has already suffered from obvious drops in its online play time.  For me and hundreds of thousands of other players, Gears 2 is singularly a single player experience, not because the multiplayer is a bad concept, but because the multiplayer was carried out horribly.

If you’re looking for a great multiplayer game, DON’T BUY GEARS OF WAR 2!  Halo 3 and CoD4 (or 5), despite both being over a year old, are still your best bets.

Posted in News, Xbox 360 | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Mytheon, New Free-To-Play MMOG, Announced

Posted by haunt506e on December 2, 2008

Earlier today Petroglyph, makers of RTS games such as Star Wars: Empire at War and Universe at War: Earth Assault, announced their development of a brand new MMOG called “Mytheon.”  With a release date set during the third quarter of 2009, Petroglyph hopes to make this RTS/RPG/MMO hybrid game available for free, making their profits off of paid micro-transactions within the game.  A teaser site has a bit of info up, but not a whole lot, and I’ve only managed to find a few screenshots of the game, all of which are concept art, and I’m too lazy to post those up at this moment.

Players collect orbs in the game and use these orbs to do different things, carry out attacks, summon monsters, etc.  Using their game store, you will be able to purchase new orbs for cash, and can use these special orbs to bolster your collection and gain the edge on your opponents.  The game is slated to include all the basic forms of play that is common in most MMOs today, including PvP, Raids, Parties, Dungeons, and more.  There’s not a lot of information on it’s “hybrid” game play mechanics, but it sounds like it could be interesting and it definitely has potential.

We’re starting to see this micro-transaction market structure more and more often in free games, and Mytheos seems to be the first one developed in the U.S. using this strategy.  I kind of like it, in a way, but I don’t ever see myself actually paying for ingame items, and therefore it is doubtful that I’ll get into this game.  I know a lot of people like being able to buy items or equipment for real world money, but the way I see it, if I’m playing a game for “free,” I don’t want to be paying money for it, even if it’s almost a necessity to keep up with the rest of the game.

Sorry for the short post lacking pictures, but it’s late tonight and good pictures are almost impossible to find for the game at the moment.  In addition, I’d also like to apologize for not having a lot of posts up lately, but I’ve been a little busy setting up things for future additions to the blog, including The Update’s podcast, simply called “Update This,” which will be airing hopefully this Friday (we’ll record tomorrow).  Come back and check out the podcast when its up, and be sure to check back regularly for blog posts.  Thanks.

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Other Consoles Still Trail Behind the Nintendo Wii in Sales

Posted by haunt506e on November 30, 2008

System Sales, November 2008Nintendo has recently reported selling just over 35 million Wii units since its inception in Fall 2006.  10 million units ahead of the 360 and 18 million ahead of the PS3, the Wii continues to outsell both consoles worldwide.  Even more interesting however is the console battle in Japan.  The PS3 has, since its launch, sold almost 3 million units to its home territory.  The Wii, on the otherhand, has sold almost 7 million units, doubling the PS3’s sales.  In Japan the Xbox 360 is still struggling, but GameDaily reports a 157.1% increase in 360 sales during the past 7 months.  Since its launch date in 2005, the Xbox 360 has sold only a measly 750,000 units to Japan, and, despite the 157.1% increase in sales, the Xbox 360 still trails behind the competition in Japan.

In Japan, console sales are as follows.  This quote has been taken from the original post on GameDaily.

Xbox 360: 748,992
PS3: 2,369,484
DS: 6,449,206
DS Lite: 17,080,747
Wii: 6,826,612
PSP: 10,181,888
PS2: 21,454,325

What makes the Wii so succesful is its huge market group.  The console is aimed at just about everybody except actual gamers (that’s why this is the first Wii post on this blog).  For real gamers and even the markets that the console is selling to, the console won’t last.  I’ve got a few friends with Wii’s, and, even when the Wii is the only console in the house, it still collects dust.  Its controllers are great at first, and prospective users are wowed by the simplicity of its design and gameplay, only to be disappointed when these great features are really only applied to a select few games (very select, very few).  One of my pals has bought a game for the PS2 rather than buy the same game for the Wii because of its unrealiable controls (unrealiable meaning the controls only work for less than 5% of the Wii’s games).

Xbox 360 sales and PS3 sales trail behind the Wii sales, but, if you take it from a longevity and gamer’s perspective, the 360 and the PS3 aren’t really doing that bad.  As far as software sales go (the games), the Wii is doing a little worse than the Xbox 360 but a little better than the PS3.  MyBroadband News reports the following.

The Xbox 360 has sold an average 6.6 games for each console that it has sold in the past 23 months. Nintendo’s Wii in comparison has sold 5.5, and the PS3 comes in last with 5.3 games sold per console.

While yes, the Xbox 360 has been around a bit longer than both the Wii and PS3, I seriously doubt the Wii’s games per console sales to pass up the 360’s.

Console WarsRight now at the current state of the console wars, the Xbox 360 seems to be doing reasonably well, outselling its predecessor and is dominating the “hardcore” gamer market.  In addition, the 360 is outselling the Wii and the PS3 as far as game sales go.  The Wii seems to be destroying the competition on console sales, but seems a bit behind the 360 on game sales, which is to be expected.  I doubt I will ever own a Wii, but, for the people that do own one, enjoy it now because it gets old pretty fast.  And the PS3, on the otherhand, is doing alright, holding its own in third (last) place.  I think the major problem with the PS3 is just that it got off to a bad start, keeping it from making headway early on, and the PS3 is now playing “catch up” with the rest of the consoles.  Now it’s got the games and the hardware, but Sony’s PS3 just hasn’t made as large of an impact as the Xbox 360 or the Wii.

In short, the Wii sells a lot, but, for actual gamers, fails as a console.  The Xbox 360 is still the best console for gamers, with the PS3 struggling (I wouldn’t say struggling, but I couldn’t think of the right word) to keep up.

Posted in News, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 | Leave a Comment »

Recent Gears of War 2 Patch Supposedly Speeds Up Matchmaking

Posted by haunt506e on November 28, 2008

Gears of War 2Earlier today EPIC released the first patch for Gears of War 2, a patch focused almost entirely on fixing the game’s ridiculously slow matchmaking system.  I’ve gotten some time to test out the new patch, and, I’ve gotta say, it didn’t really change much.  The matchmaking is still riddled with those “wtf?” moments, long search times, and infinite search loops.  For my friends and I, getting into a Gears of War 2 match kind of goes like this…

  1. Matchmaking is started.
  2. After 2 minutes, matchmaking is restarted.
  3. After 2 minutes, matchmaking is switched to a different game type.
  4. After 2 seconds, a match is found.
  5. When the match is over and you’ve waited the useless 25 seconds in the post-game lobby (why?), repeat the process.

Gears of War 2 is a great game, better than the first even.  However, where it fails is not in some game mechanic or concept, but in its terrible truskill or whatever matchmaking system.  Truskill doesn’t work, every developer needs to get that into their heads.  Matchmaking is fine by me, but destroy the steaming pile of excrement that is truskill (I don’t know if that’s the correct spelling, but whatever).  I’ve been playing Left 4 Dead a lot the past couple of days, do you know how long, on average, it takes to find a match via matchmaking (without truskill thank god)?  Around 3 seconds.  No restarting the matchmaking, no switching playlists, all it takes is a simple select game type, difficulty, and level, and a match is found almost instantly.  Yeah, I know L4D uses dedicated servers, but that has nothing to do with the actual matchmaking (as in finding a game) part of the deal.

So really EPIC, fix your product, because for the time being, it is unplayable by myself and no doubt hundreds of thousands of others.  The game’s great, but right now I’d kinda like to continue the multiplayer experience, but unfortunately cannot because of the s*** servers.  I could forgive this poor quality on launch day and even a few days later when I was writing my review, but I can’t overlook the terrible performance 21 days after launch.

But I guess I must give credit where credit is due.  After all, the title update did do something.  Instead of having to restart matchmaking three times to get a match, now you only have to restart it twice…

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

Beat the “No Mercy” Finale on Expert Mode!

Posted by haunt506e on November 27, 2008

Left 4 DeadJust found this video earlier today when me and my buds were stuck on the No Mercy Finale.  Yeah, it’s a cheap way of “winning,” but we had been fighting for hours and two of us had to leave because it was getting late.  So if you’re stuck and really want that Zombicidal Maniac achievement, check out this video and it’s a sure fire way of beating No Mercy’s finale.  Of course, you’ll have to get to the finale first, which isn’t easily achieved either.  For the actual chapters of No Mercy, just stay close together, avoid friendly fire, don’t use medi-kits until absolutely necessary, and remember the melee button!  This video is not mine, I’ll be posting its notes, authors, etc. in a quote box directly after the video.

Found by – XxGaMeRJUNKIExX
Others In Video – Louis, Derka506, sharpfire122.
Comment, Rate, Subscribe.
Band – Rob Zombie
Song – White Zombie
*CONTACT INFORMATION*
Aim: ZeroGreaterThan
Gamertag: XxGaMeRJUNKIExX
– Disclaimer –
All the following material is being used with permission from Valve and Powered by Source. ©2008.

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