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3:05 PM on 04.22.2010  

Win: Three APB EU Beta Keys



It's online. It's basically GTA. It's awesome. It's for PC only and the current beta is for EU users only (NA people may join but your pings will suck, sorry!). Can't say more due to the NDA, but I've got three invites to give out! Just post a comment if you want one and I'll PM you with the code and instructions.

If you need more infos, check the official site http://www.apb.com/   read


2:44 PM on 10.18.2009  

Germany's "killer games dumping" - how it went.

Some of you may have read the frontpage article about the “modern book burning for killer games” a few days ago. Well, the event was held yesterday and here’s how it went!

At around 02:30pm local time the container was almost full. Well....almost.

[embed]152363:23813[/embed]

There were only two PS2 games in the container (one of them being GTA San Andreas), a CD and a Game Boy module (Small Soldiers). At least most germans have some common sense left and didn’t care for the event.

But that doesn’t stop the media!

[embed]152363:23814[/embed]

The two PS2 games were picked up and given to a small child – who threw them in again. And again, and again, for the cameras. This event may have been a failure – but the media madness doesn’t stop.   read


4:07 PM on 08.04.2009  

I just came to watch you die: The Matrix Online

After Tabula Rasa’s death back in February I’ve been quite interested in the death of MMO’s. It was the first I’ve seen and wondered how other MMO’s would handle their death. Would they just shut down? Or, like Tabula Rasa, do some kind of final story mission that results in the death of all characters?


Last Friday it was time for The Matrix Online to take it’s last breath of MMO air.
The game has had a fair amount of problems since it launched. Mainly, World Of Warcraft. Like Tabula Rasa, Sci-Fi MMO’s don’t seem to cause as much interest as fantasy games. The game, in the few hours I played it, seemed quite interesting. Quests were the standard MMO “kill x amount of y and bring item z to location y” fare, graphics were “okay” and the soundtrack was good. The lack in character races was compensated through many, many different clothes, such as shirts, leather coats and – of course – sunglasses.



But I was there for the end of it. Every character has been raised to Level 99 (the previous level cap was 50) and....that was basically it. Players were invited to “Party ‘till the Plug is pulled!” at Mara Centra, so I went there.



Yep. A bunch of players standing around dancing and dueling, chatting about the good old time they used to have. Or how shitty it was, depending on their liking.
No other special story event or final mission.



But as it came down to the last minute, something more interesting happened. Just watch this:

[embed]142754:21123[/embed]

A box with the text “Wake Up!” appeared and everyone...well...imploded? I guess that’s the end of the Matrix then, isn’t it? Everyone is awake now. No more Matrix. The Matrix Online was considered the official continuation of the universe and some of the story elements were even written by the Wachowski brothers. Does that mean the Matrix is dead now?

Oh and by the way: I just got my Beta invite to Hello Kitty Online. Look forward to impressions on that one!   read


2:56 PM on 07.31.2009  

Tonight, The Matrix Online dies. [shortblog]



For me, it’s fascinating to see a MMO taking it’s last breath. That’s what will happen tonight to The Matrix Online. Published in 2005 by Sega, then transfered to Sony Online Entertainment the game could never fulfill it’s expectations – well, most people just didn’t care or lost sight of the development and simply forgot it. I’ll be there to check out the “party till the plug is pulled!”, as it’s called by Sony. Everyone is invited to join, so you can go to the official site, sign up and get into the game in it's last moments. I’ll be there and post pictures of it later!   read


9:04 AM on 05.26.2009  

BattleForge goes play for free! (shortblog)

BattleForge, the MMORTSTCG is free to play as of today. I don’t know why they made that step, but it appears that they had too few players. The game is fairly good and you should definitely check it out:

Here

Download it and have fun. Anyone who likes RTS games should at least try it.   read


7:16 PM on 05.20.2009  

Killing Floor Review



After posting my first impressions last week I now feel like I’ve played the game long enough to write a complete review. So here it is, my first impressions compiled into a review :

Killing Floor is a first person, co-op survival horror shooter that is based on the UT2k4 mod of the same name. However, for the commercial release Tripwire Interactive (the guys behind Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45) promise to have greatly improved the production value and gameplay aspects of the mod so it can be a competing product in todays market. Featuring co-op gameplay and zombies, which seem to be all the rage (no pun intended) at the moment and with a self called “agressive pricing strategy” behind their back, can they deliver?


[embed]132204:19332[/embed]
Solo Mode Gameplay on the West London map

First off let me say that I have never played the original UT2k4 modification. I’ve heard about it several times and seen it on some websites, but not being active in the UT2k4 community I’ve never played any mods based on it. Red Orchestra was an instant buy for me when it came out because I love slower paced, more realistic approaches when it comes to shooters. Not being disappointed by Tripwires first offering I began looking forward to Killing Floor when it was announced last month.

The game has been out for a week now and has topped the Steam Sales charts – not a bad start. On paper, the game features nearly everything that’s “in” at the moment: Zombies, online Co-Op, a perk system with persistent leveling and enough gore to put it on the radar of Germanys rating board. Though I guess you don’t have to try hard to achieve this status. All it’s missing is a cover system.



The gameplay consists of you and up to 5 other players being dropped into a map, killing zombies. Lot’s of zombies. Contrary to Left 4 Dead, you’re not playing a string of maps that result in a campaign. You’re staying on the map you start on until the very end while pre-set numbers of waves of enemies are trying to overwhelm you. The number and difficulty of the waves can be fully customized – you can even choose which enemy types spawn in which wave and how the enemies are multiplied if you play with more people. However, this mode disables the use of the perk system, as games have to be played under the “official” rules in order for the perks to work. The official rules include four difficulty levels and three different wave lenghts. After completing a wave you’re able to buy new weapons at a trader which randomly spawns at one of different, pre-set locations on the map. The shop features 13 different weapons, ranging from your standard fare shotguns and pistols, to more exotic weapons like a crossbow and a Lever-Action rifle. The guns feel satisfying and are fun to use. The only problem is that if you pick up two pistols of the same kind, you’re only able to use them akimbo style and are no longer able to choose just one pistol. This is a real problem if you’re trying to shoot at far away targets, or when trying to save ammunition. It’s a real mystery why the developers thought this way a good idea.

The perk system features six different classes to choose from, each with their own unique bonusses, mostly weapon related damage boosts and discounts at the trader. You level up through completing one or two given tasks for each class – for example in order to level up your sniper rank you have to score a certain number of headshots. The required number to accomplish these different tasks continues to rise so rapidly, it gets almost ridiculous. On the first level you have to get 100 headshots. The second level already asks for 700. Every perk has five levels so you can spend some considerable time on leveling these up. Perks can be switched during matches, though the changes only take affect after you completed a wave.

Enemy types range from smaller, fast zombies that grab you, to crawling, leaping hunters. The bigger enemies consists of a fat, vomiting zombie, a guy with a chainsaw arm and the “Fleshpound”, an enemy with spinning bludgeons on both of its arms. Some of these types sound familiar, eh?



After completing all of the waves the “Patriach” spawns, the boss zombie and former scientist that presumably created the zombies. He carries a minigun and rocket launcher and can heal and cloak himself. Here’s another problem of the game:
At the moment this enemy is slightly overpowered. A team which has no problems at all to complete ten waves of enemies just gets raped by the Patriarch. Out of about 20 times I reached him so far, we were only able to defeat him about five times. That’s frustrating.

[embed]132204:19345[/embed]
A montage of Co-Op gameplay

The graphics are definitely “okay” for an Unreal Engine 2.5 game, though it can’t hold up with newer titles. Especially the lightning effects on the nighttime Farm map are just look downright ugly. Sound effects are also okay, the weapons all sound satisfying, though voice acting is horrible. Mr. Sterling certainly wouldn’t approve the bad english accent the characters use. The music that plays during fights is rather good, it’s a metal/industrial mix that accompanies the action quite well.

Overall the game is fun to play in short bursts – after three days my interest started to fade and I couldn’t play for hours, like I did on release day. When played in these short bursts though, the game is a lot of mindless fun. Playing this with friends is just an overall good time. The Mod SDK is already released so the game should spawn some Mods and Maps in the coming months. Big respects goes to the developer and their pricing – 20$ is just the right price for this game.


Rating:
7/10


- The game is currently only available through Steam.   read


6:58 AM on 05.15.2009  

Killing Floor - First Impressions



Killing Floor is a first person, co-op survival horror shooter that is based on the UT2k4 mod of the same name. However, for the commercial release Tripwire Interactive (the guys behind Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45) promise to have greatly improved the production value and gameplay aspects of the mod so it can be a competing product in todays market. Featuring co-op gameplay and zombies, which seem to be all the rage (no pun intended) at the moment and with a self called “agressive pricing strategy” behind their back, can they deliver?

First off let me say that I have never played the original UT2k4 modification. I’ve heard about it several times and seen it on some websites, but not being active in the UT2k4 community I’ve never played any mods based on it. Red Orchestra was an instant buy for me when it came out because I love slower paced, more realistic approaches when it comes to shooters. Not being disappointed by Tripwires first offering I began looking forward to Killing Floor when it was announced last month. Being a big fan of zombies and co-op gameplay certainly helped, too. After some launch problems (the Steam activation was delayed by several hours) Killing Floor is now available and ready to play. I’ve put some hours into it and here are my first impressions:




If you expected this to be some kind of Left 4 Dead clone, go look somewhere else. This isn’t. The mod has been around since 2005 and the games share some aspects, mainly co-op and zombies, but the gameplay is radically different. Rather than progressing through a linear string of maps or a campaign, you only play a single, open map in Killing Floor. Another difference is that instead of four players, you have the ability to play with up to six people at the same time. You are playing as a squad of special forces that got dropped into the target zone with a helicopter, only one goal in mind – clean this whole place of the specimens. Here’s one of the key differences to Left 4 Dead, because instead of being about survival, this game is purely about the killing. Gameplay is divided into waves, a set number of enemies spawn and you have to kill them all. Upon doing this, you’ve got one minute to shop at a trader for new weapons and ammunition. The weapon selection is quite nice, ranging from your standard fare shotgun and dual Pistols to some more exotic weapons like a crossbow and a lever-action rifle. Depending on the difficulty and duration of the game (both can be set before starting) you repeat this procedure until the final wave, in which you face a boss zombie. He’s armed with a minigun and can go invisible, so you better watch out. Enemy types vary from smaller, faster zombies that try to grab and eat you, to big, fat slow zombies that vomit on you. Sounds familiar?




The gameplay certainly isn’t deep but it’s fun. It’s a mindless, bloody co-op zombie shooter with a metal/rock/industrial soundtrack featuring bullet time. What’s not to love? At the moment I can only recommend buying the game for it’s current price – this is a developer who got their pricing right.

[embed]132204:19332[/embed]

[embed]132204:19331[/embed]

[embed]132204:19345[/embed]

More impressions to come. Well, maybe.   read


3:26 PM on 04.10.2009  

Braid for PC out NOW! (short)

Yes, Braid for the PC has finally been released. If you don't know what Braid is, I just have to say BUY IT DAMMIT. Need more info? Check out the review here. It's probably one of the best games you will play in a long, long time.

Braid is available through Greenhouse, Impulse, Gamersgate and later today via Steam.

If you're still unsure, there's a demo at these links available, too. So check it out, buy it, be happy!   read


4:06 PM on 03.06.2009  

CeBIT '09 Gaming Impressions



On March 3rd, 2009 the CeBIT 2009 opened it gates in Hannover, Germany. Citing the official press release it’s the place “where 4,300 exhibiting firms from 69 countries are on hand at the No. 1 marketplace for digital solutions, trends and innovations”. This means there surely is some gaming, right? By attending the event in 2008 I knew I could expect at least something, as last year marked Rock Band’s European Premiere and the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) held it’s official qualifiers.

Well, that was last year. This year, everything’s different.

Arriving this morning, the exhibition halls seemed....empty. At least from the outside. A very unusual thing, considering the CeBIT is one of the world’s most important IT conferences. Cheking in at the counter I got my fancy little nameplate and entered the compound, which connects all the halls.



This building surely seems impressive (and useless) for an exhibition of this kind. You may notice something else, too. Yeah...it IS pretty empty. But this isn’t going to stop me, my goal is hall 22 where the gaming area is supposed to be. Of course it immediately started to rain 5 seconds after I took that picture. So let’s head to hall 22 quickly.



Entering hall 22, dubbed the “Intel Gaming Hall”, I had to show my ID card, confirming I am older than 16 years. Yeah, german laws and game ratings. At least this raised my hopes to see something worthwhile, which got quickly shattered as I took a look around.



“Gaming? What? WHERE!?”. I think these were my exact thoughts. Well, they were more like “Spiele? Häh? WO!?” but...that really doesn’t matter. All that matters is, that this is not what I expected. Yes, the CeBIT isn’t a gaming event but there has been a LOT more gaming in the last years. I don’t even know if there is something gaming related in that picture. Walking around the hall for a bit I spotted four games. Guitar Hero World Tour (for the PC, I was told by Activision that this is the world premiere. Is that true?), World In Conflict: Soviet Assault, Live For Speed and Unreal Tournament 3. You may notice that two of these games are old and one is a port of a console game. At first I tried my luck with Guitar Hero World Tour on the PC and played guitar on Coldplay’s “Shiver” (scrolling through the tracklist I couldn’t spot a new song that may be exclusive to the PC). Let me tell you that I’m not a bad Guitar Hero player. I play more Rock Band, but I know how GHWT works and own the game for the 360. “Shiver”, beeing an easy song, I chose Expert difficulty and...had quite a few problems. Not because of the song though, but there were some serious frame drops on the system we played on and the game was probably calibrated wrong as it was nearly impossible to hit more than 20 notes without failing one. It simply wasn’t fun and they need to optimize the framerate badly. That, or the system we played on just sucked....which would be embarrassing. Passing by the “Patriot Memory” booth I noticed it was....empty. Except one PC, which was running UT3. And one guy playing it.



I hope he had his fun. Going further into the hall I came across the World in Conflict: Soviet Assault booth (picture taking not allowed), entered it and watched somedoby else playing the game for about 10 minutes. It looked a lot like the regular World in Conflict (well, it’s just an addon) and you probably need to know WiC to really see the differences. I’ve got to say it looked very nice for an RTS, though. A shame the console versions got cancelled, it reminded me a lot of Tom Clancy’s EndWar, except...better. Leaving the booth I turned right and spotted some F1-simulators. As a big racing and F1 fan , I hoped this would be the best thing to happen on this day.



They had Live For Speed running on a fantasy track with five other players in a three round race. After getting into the cockpits we would get our steering wheels attached (Logitech’s G25), the functions explained (gas is right, brakes are left!) and they started the race. My competition was... pathetic. They crashed all over the place and after three rounds I finished 1st... Again, this was lacking the fun factor I hoped it would have.

I left the hall, headed back to the bus I came with and went on my way back home. This day truly was not worth it, but at least it build up some anticipation for this years “gamescom” in Cologne. I’m really looking forward to it now as it probably is the only gaming event I’m able to attend this year.   read


5:48 PM on 02.28.2009  

Tabula Rasa: I just came to watch you die.

Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa took it’s last breath today, beginning at 8 PM GMT, with an invasion by the Bane (the games enemies), resulting in a shutdown at midnight. We all know the story of the game and it’s terrible failure. Tabula Rasa was free to play and download since December 23rd, 2008, so I decided to take a look. Well, not a look to the game itself. I just came to watch it die.



I logged on today around 1 PM GMT for the first time, with the account of a friend who had gained some levels before, so I could explore and get into some higher level areas. On my first login I noticed something.



Seems like people didn’t even care for the ending. After walking around for about 20 minutes I finally got into an area where I met some people. It was the starting area and first map of the game, the only place where people seemed to be active. There were around 10-20 players at the first outpost fighting some NPCs. Speaking of NPCs, they were the only ones doing anything in the game. Walking around searching for other players, the only thing that moved were NPCs which shot at other NPCs. Interesting. I logged off.

Coming back at 8 PM GMT, people had gathered at “Foreas Base”, an outpost still controlled by humans. The event was about to begin and suddenly more people arrived. A lot more.



Eventually the invasion began and the Bane took over each planet, resulting in the evacuation of players to a hideout. The developers actually prepared some nice stuff there. We would have a last stand. On Earth.



Arriving in New York City, it turned into a lagfest and the servers lagged out several times. Eventually more instances were opened so players could enjoy their final battle.



Yeah right, they do! At least the standard server software is still intact! More and more enemies spawned until the humans couldn’t take it anymore. They got defeated.



All this happened 5 minutes ago.
Richard Gariott’s Tabula Rasa died at 12 AM GMT.




Anyone want to buy my boxed copy which I got back in 2007? Might be a collectors item some day!   read


11:53 AM on 02.14.2009  

It's Saturday, so here are your Quake Live Beta invites.

Alright, time for more Quake Live Beta Invites.
This time I got 10 invites to spare.
You want one, just send me a PM on the forums, post in the comments or send an e-mail to "[email protected]" containing your full name and a valid e-mail adress.

Also, everyone who got an invite last time should have 5 invites to give out, too!
By this time we should have enough people who can give out invites to hook up the whole community if we organize it properly.   read


5:58 PM on 02.06.2009  

Just take them: 20 Quake Live Beta Invites [all gone!]

Alright, I'll make this one short:

id Software seems to be spamming invites at the moment so:
You want a Quake Live Beta invite? Send me a PM on the forums, post in the comments or send an e-mail to "[email protected]" containing your full name and a valid e-mail adress. I'll invite you. 20 invites available.

Update:
I invited everybody who got it right, invites should arrive during the day. Remember it's FULL NAME + mail adress. I don't care for your names but apparently id does. So, 11 invites remain.

And don't forget to add each other as friends!

Update 2:
No invites left. I'm making a new blog post as soon as I get new ones to give out.   read







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