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About




Fresh outta college, one of those stereotypical, bumbling jobless "journalists" wanting to become a "vidya gaems jarnalist". And so the hunt for a job he likes begins! And no, he's not going back to school to become a pharmacist technician, like his mom nags him to be.



I also have a YouTube channel (above image). Self-taught video editing! I'm still unemployed you know, potential hirers!

~ Favorite games
- Red Dead Redemption
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Psychonauts
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Pokemon
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World

Also, twitter


Introduction post

10 things about me

~Front Paged
- Downloadables: Every night is Monday Night Combat!
- eSports: Someone you know is hype
- Relaxation: Secretly training
- I calls dibs on Gaige!

~FAP Approved!
- A discussion about Catherine with my girlfriend
- So I applied for an internship at X-Play...
- Being Social: Cal State Long Beach's Gaming Club
- Persona 4: Ultimate and 4 other fighting games you probably don't know
- A new return to 3rd Strike Online part 1: Picking a main
- Top 6 somewhat natural disasters in gaming
- Villains: For me my dear, it was merely a Tuesday
- Let's talk about Phoenix Wright and Nova in UMvC3
- How I gave my girlfriend Tetris DS and loved every minute of it
- Let's talk about Rocket Raccoon and Frank West in UMvC3
- Xenophilia: The Universal Language of Mecha
- Asura's Wrath might get panned and I'm ok with that
- Acquisition: Solid Snake signed your what?
- A Valentine's Day reflection: two great loves
- Skullgirls and the art of combos
- 6 reasons why you should check out Legend of Korra
- Today, I thought about oversexualization
- Hype: Japan Time
- Objection! The story of an impossible gift for that special someone
- Cultural identity and Sleeping Dogs
- Finn and Flame Princess' big Disney Adventure Picspam
- FTL: Recovered diaries from a derelict spaceship
- Retaliation: Your guide to fighting the Collectors
-Handsome Jack, the father, the hero, the asshole
- Before StriderHoang, there was Marcel Hoang
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! You're not all that mathmatical
- Ralph wrecked his way into my heart
- The sixth generation wishlist from five time Pokemon Champion, Marcel
- Strider's big, fat, ride through 2012
- Being the best predator you can be

~Friday Night Fight Replays!
- 09/02/11
- 09/09/11
- 09/23/11
- 09/30/11
- 02/07/12
- 02/12/12



~The Write Stuff! Get to writing!
- 06/30 - The Beginning!
- 07/06 - Line breaks
- 07/13 - Tone
- 07/20 - Commas
- 08/06 - Balance
- 09/03 - Crossposting
- Write Stuff of September - Pride

~ The Cblog Fapcast!
- XCOM or bust!
- The show must Smurf on!
- ScottyG is on the line
- Hobo extraordinaire, Manchild
- The sorry game
- Girlfriend caps
- #1ReasonHow
- Holiday Revengeance
- My Hairy, Downstairs Fapcast
- bbreaking nnews
- Strider alone
- Oh the Injustice!



Also, check me out on Bitmob!
Player Profile
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While Black and White tried to recreate that feeling of playing Red and Blue by limiting you to only Unova dex Pokemon up until you become the champion, X and Y has older Pokemon pop up alongside new Kalos dex Pokemon, and for good reason. The new mega evolutions aren't new National Dex entries but purely apart of the new battle mechanics. That's why older Pokemon will be included in this list for their mega evolutions and the newly retconned fairy Pokemon.



1. Aggron
Aggron has always been my favorite Pokemon since it appeared in gen III in Ruby and Sapphire. While it has a cool design and ridiculous defense, it's general outline is ultimately too niche and extreme; dual-typed as steel/rock gives it two maddening 4x weaknesses to easily accessible fighting and ground type attacks plus something as simple as Thunderbolt would probably do more damage against Aggron's low end special defense.

With the advent of mega evolutions though, Mega Aggron looks to rectify its past mistakes and stand tall as a brand new steel beast. It loses its 4x weaknesses by becoming pure steel, its attack, defense, and special defense go up, and as if it wasn't bulky enough its ability changes to Filter which powers down super effective attacks by 25%.

All this adds up to be the true form of what Aggron should be: a monstrous wall that will tear you down before you can. All hail the steel beast!



2. Aegislash
When Honedge was first revealed, it quickly became a novel idea. A ghost that's also a sword. A steel Pokemon that's also a ghost. It's predictably very strong on the physical front while its typing and defense offers easy switch-ins.

After becoming Doublade though, it can evolve again through the Dusk Stone and it becomes Aegislash and that's where things get interesting.

Aegislash can shift between a defense form and an attack form by using its signature move, King's Shield. Not only does it act like Protect and reduce an attacker's offensive strength if they clash with it, it causes Aegislash to shift into defense form after attacking in attack form. Its stats shift accordingly, as it can turn from a sturdy wall to a terrifying attacker on its turn. Slowly but sure, people will learn to anticipate what most Aegislash players will do which is where the interesting mind games come in.

Aegislash will inevitably only have one or two move sets. It needs King's Shield for sure and its speed is horrible so most will probably use Shadow Sneak, a priority ghost attack that moves first. Playing Aegislash and fighting against one will become 100% prediction based. Will he use King's Shield now? Will he attack now? Will he use something different to move last? Even if you know what Aegislash can do, there's still a massive mind game to wrap your head around!



3. Hawlucha
Hawlucha is a uniquely eagle-themed luchador. He's fairly straightforward sweeper with high attack and speed. His ability also begs to use Acrobatics, a flying attack that doubles in strength when not carrying an item. So rather then not carry an item, a lot of classic Unburden strategys have risen again such as eating a berry or using a Flying Gem.

Whatever the approach, Hawlucha is a powerful and easy to use high risk, high reward Pokemon to use. When not relying on losing an item to power up your attacks and missing with Hi Jump Kick, Fighting/Flying is a very solid type combo that affords Hawlucha good coverage and decent resists at the expense of classic Stealth Rocks weakness. Still, you don't need to put a lot of thought into using Hawlucha effectively. Just give him an item he can afford to lose and start spamming attack until everything is dead or it is dead. He's a hawk-luchador for crying out loud. Stop thinking about it and start kicking things into dust!



4. Togekiss
You may remember Togekiss from Diamond/Pearl. This fat little dove was introduced as a new evolution to Togepi as a way to make the Togepi line more powerful. Before X and Y, it was a normal/flying like a lot of flying Pokemon. With fairy Pokemon all the rage now though, Togekiss feels like a brand new Pokemon as a fairy/flying Pokemon.

This means in addition to being immune to dragons, Togekiss now resists dark attacks as well as fighting by a whopping 4x. And the release of a new game is a good time to be around, since Togekiss' new weaknesses, poison and steel, are still rarely seen in use. People are still in the mentality of ignoring poison and steel attacks for coverage against the new fairy-type so all Togekiss has to worry are ice, electric, and rock attacks. But with Togekiss' robust special defense, it can shrug off a lot of powerful attacks.

Togekiss' own repertoire of attacks hasn't changed much, but simply changing its typing has given it a huge buff.



5. Blaziken
Blaziken's hidden ability has always been the coveted Speed Boost, something which increases its speed with every passing turn. It's always been locked away but finally, not only has it been released over mystery gift, Blaziken gets a mega evolution that raises its attack to ridiculous, overkill levels. A well raised Blaziken that mega evolves at level 50 could very well hit an attack of 200!

Together with Speed Boost increasing speed, one turn of Swords Dance boosting attack, and something like Hi Jump Kick, you have a threat that you have to shut down immediately because once the snowball gets going with Mega Blaziken, there's very little you can do to stop it.

While the classic fire/fighting combo gets walled by fairy-types, Blaziken can easily learn Poison Jab to take care of any pesky problems. Once fairies have been dealt with, its hard to think of anything that could possibly survive a single hit from this monster.



6. Trevenant
It seems ghost Pokemon always seem to have the best design and Trevenant, a grass/ghost Pokemon, is another example of great ghost Pokemon.

It just so happens that grass/ghost can be used as a decent defense in typical grass stall shenanigans i.e. leech seed sets. Trevenant also has the decent bulk though not stellar. Most of its success in stall comes from a couple of great resistances from its grass typing as well as access to leech seed. It also has two great abilities to choose from: Natural Cure and Harvest. While Pokemon like Starmie have Natural Cure as well, encouraging you to absorb statuses or even Rest to switch out, Trevenant is one of the better Pokemon to use Harvest. Harvest allows Trevenant to reuse its berry indefinitely, so a Sitrus berry can keep it healthy for a while combined with Leech Seed and leftovers.



7. Klefki
So people think a living key ring is a stupid idea for a Pokemon? People won't be thinking its stupid when they get paralyzed by Thunder Wave. Steel/fairy is actually a deceptively great combo to take hits with. But that's not the real draw here. Klefki gets Prankster as an ability and is the first Pokemon to make real great use of it after the likes of Whimsicott from Black and White.

I already mentioned its great typing for taking hits. Its also capable of putting up the dreaded dual screens, Reflect and Light Screen. And thanks to Prankster, non-damaging attacks receive a +1 priority as if they were Quick Attack. Remember when I said a Pokemon like Blaziken might run away with the win? Klefki can get in with its own emergency brakes and paralyze it, stopping its momentum cold in its tracks.

Klefki has annoyingly good potential for being annoying. So long as you have a Klefki on your team ready for revenge, no sweeper is safe to head onto the field.
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There's a common sentiment among the Cblog Recappers at the slow pace of the cblog community as of late. In the interest of revitalizing the cblogs and with Pokemon's inevitable release, I thought we could start a conversation on it due to an important detail regarding Pokemon X and Y's release: its simultaneous worldwide release.

For the longest time, Japan received the game first and people hungry for information regarding the new game would hunt on the web for information and tidbits from people who were playing the Japanese copy. But now the entire world will start the game at roughly the same time and it opens the possibility for ongoing conversation. Think of this post as the start for a weekly game club, where we can talk about our discoveries and thoughts on the game.

Here are some questions to start off the conversation for you to dwell on. Be sure to leave a comment and you may be highlighted on next week's Talking to Trainers About Pokemon. But since we're trying to reinvigorate the cblogs, don't be afraid to really let loose with longer answers by starting a blog. As long as you have long form thought to share about Pokemon, even if it only tangentially relates to this week's questions, don't be afraid to write, write, write!

If you are purchasing Pokemon X or Y, where are you returning to the Kalos region?

I have a feeling many people will say this but the jump to 3D graphics made X and Y really appealing to jumping back in. We all know that despite the 3DS' resurgence in success, a lot of people only got a 3DS for the inevitable Pokemon 3DS game and it's finally arrived.

Also, the Mega Evolutions are a cool take on giving older Pokemon a new lease on life. Lie to yourself all you want, but Charizard will always have trouble competing against the likes of Inferape or Volcarona due to its movepool stats. But with the introduction of Mega Charizard, specifically Charizard X, it receives buffs such as new a ability and even changing its flying typing to dragon. The Mega Evolutions are especially unknown despite leaks, so I'm excited to see where new evolutions can take older Pokemon.

Are there any hopes and aspirations you're hoping on discovering in the sixth generation?

I've already touched on discovering new Mega Evolutions but attacks are a big deal too. One leaked example is dual typed attacks like Flying Press. This move is a fighting-type move that is also flying! Similarly to the previous generation and the introduction of ridiculous boosting moves like Shell Smash or how Psyshock uses the user's special attack but calculates against the target's defense. If Flying Press is a sign of things to come, I can't wait to see how the metagame especially develops with the new moves.

We'll keep it simple like that for now. I could write a lot more but I cut myself off so I could keep the post brief so you can get to thinking and typing yourself! Remember, feel free to leave a comment down here to see if you get highlighted next week but if you find yourself typing out an essay of a response, feel free to break it off into a proper cblog! Get to catching them all Pokemon trainers!
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The San Andreas Board of Commerce, Tourism, and Sanctioned Crime has been alarmed at the recent influx of tourists and the proportionate number of tourists turned away at the border checkpoint (reports indicate that when politely asked, visitors did not have the appropriate papers). In an effort to boost tourism numbers through sheer numbers rather than relaxing border checkpoint procedure, the San Andreas BCTSC has commissioned local entrepreneurs to compile a brochure to entice interest abroad in such hubs of culture such as Vice City, Liberty City, and Milwaukee.

Welcome to San Andreas! It's a hell of a state!

Once you enter San Andreas, you'll be treated to our specially designed, focus tested welcoming party. One of San Andreas' best and brightest who could be hired with one week's notice will arrive to help you get acclimated to San Andreas the only way our highly paid panelists know how: a rudimentary race!

At some point though, you'll be free to exercise complete freedom in the state of San Andreas once our tour guide's shift ends and he's no longer required to interact with you. Unless of course he simply doesn't feel like doing the race with you. He can be a dick like that but nobody else would do it for the pay we had to offer.

One of the first things you'll have to do is acquire a car. You'll find that the citizens of San Andreas are more than willing to offer you their car after you give them such encouraging words such as, "Get out!" or "It's mine now!"

After that, one of SA's finest businessmen in the fast paced world of auto sales , Simeon Yetarian, will use his generous heart to give you free auto insurance and a free GPS tracker. We can all unilaterally agree that the state of San Andreas must be good if we give free introductory auto insurance!



One of the greatest reasons for San Andreas' supposed prominence (of which we are legally obliged to tell you that the legal use of such a word to describe this state is still undergoing examination in the superior court) is the embracing of the right to bear arms and use them with extreme impunity. Yes, fans of classic crime movies with their car chases and shootouts can live out their favorite scenes right on the street whether other people want to or not! As retainers of free choice, we encourage you to always speak your mind with your gun if another person so much as looks at you weird or exists strangely within a one mile area around you. How dare that person stand kind of close to you! You know who else acts entitled like that? Hipsters.

And suppose if someone gets a similar idea about you! Why they just want to experience Righteous Slaughter 7 with you! While you're commuting someplace. Even though that game clearly doesn't have vehicular combat in it. That's Warground 5 of course! Pre-order now by the way to receive a free hot gun skin for your shotgun! Anyways, the ensuing car chase is sure to be exciting as testimonials from survivors would account for.

As you spend more time in San Andreas, we're sure you'll come into contact with our colorful, multi-cultural, mono-gendered assortment of investors, civic leaders, and business people. Gerald is a purveyor in the exciting world of illicit substances and will often times offer aspiring investors a cash reward for their trouble in the world of substance abuse and acquisition. Lester is an eccentric computer whiz who will sometimes let you see the colorful side of San Andreas' through the use of explosives and chaos.



Then again, perhaps you, the willful tourist of San Andreas, want to explore the landscape in a more solitary manner? Throughout the cities you'll find locations where people simply flash mob together for a good old fashioned deathmatch. Or maybe you'll find a street race in the Los Santos' river (river being used subjectively). Why, once you're deemed level 15 through some arbitrary method of measurement, you can even participate in one of San Andreas' most beloved past times: horde survival! And there's more like competitive auto theft, bounty hunting, and of course America's past time of cat and mouse with jet and motorbike.

Or somehow you're also an eccentric though not at the same level as Lester. Perhaps you'd love to make your own fun in our beautiful state? Why rob a store you can steal a helicopter? Or maybe you could rob a convenience store with a helicopter? Don't worry as the state insures all businesses against theft with money better left unexplained to its origin. Find one of our rarer motor vehicles like a dirt bike and climb Mount Chiliad with it? You can steal an expensive luxury SUV and sell it for an obscene profit. Or parachute into lovely, perimeter guarded Fort Zancudo and borrow one of their jets with some elbow grease and can-do attitude! Be sure to show off its amazing weapons systems to other like minded tourists! Killing them is ok with our amazing health care. Destroying their personal vehicles however, is a big no-no. Think about how they would feel when their property is destroyed. Try not to think about how they'd feel if you blew them up though. That would be a real bummer.

Did you know visitors can also own property too? We didn't either! Our team of attorneys are still researching how this is possible but in the meantime, buy! Buy! Buy! Eventually through penny pinching and smart use of such tactics like not-dying, you too can own a tiny studio apartment with a two car garage located next to the power plant. There, you'll be able to expand your collection of vehicles which were most likely acquired through legal means with some help from your local mechanic. Drive in a car and your mechanic will attach a tracker for free and viola! It's now yours so try not to think too hard about it. Be the envy of your peers as you drive a classy ATV through the mean streets of Los Santos. Try not to be too enviable of course, or else an up and coming entrepreneur may make for a hostile take over of your goods. Of course, it's insured so don't worry. We mentioned insurance was cheap right? But you won't have to worry about it too much if you install a remote bomb on your car. After all, only the most happening trend setters put bombs on their cars in case they're stolen. You know what they say! If I can't have it, no one can!



We hope this handy brochure of sorts has encouraged you to visiting our lively state of San Andreas. If you were on the edge of deciding, maybe this will have pushed you over it to see what we're all about!

We are also legally obliged to tell you not to actually jump off any edges you may be contemplating on jumping over. Have fun in San Andreas and see you online!
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Just like Mass Effect 3, Splinter Cell: Blacklist's multiplayer is a surprising highlight for most people. Though Spies vs Mercs has a successful past, it still rings that I-can't-believe-the-singleplayer-has-good-multiplayer-too bell; it takes ideas that are familiar in that universe and establishes them on their own in a different gaming environment.

Unlike ME3's Galaxy at War mode though, things are less transparent. Actually, very few things are ever explained to you, which makes things increasingly difficult on top of learning strategies and meta-game. Outside of classic mode, the various customization options can be difficult to understand since so little is explained. Little things like the difference in the stats between accuracy and control aren't explained, so should I slap items that increase one stat or the other on my gun? How exactly does the Merc's ATS visor when I can't notice what it defines for me?

Well luckily, I'm here to help you along. Like some older fighting games, a lot of knowledge is gleaned from good old fashion trial and error along with some friendly input from the community. The customizable playlists of Spies vs Mercs can be difficult for the first few levels and even leveling up can be arduous if you can't eke out a few wins to level up faster. Here are some beginning tips to help you get out of the hell that is level 1 to 10 so you can be on your way to blasting spooks and stabbing mercs.



Spies Vs Mercs - general tips
In nearly every mode, in most scenarios, spies simply can't fight mercs head on. Their SMGs are passable at best at medium range and simply cannot compete at long range where mercs simply need to aim down their sights to accurately perforate you. 90% of your offense as a spy will be coming from blindsiding mercs with your knife.

The spies main weapon isn't either of the weapons they can equip but rather their goggles, spatial awareness, and the environment. Never walk on the ground floor like the mercs. Always take the spy exclusive routes like air vents, ledges, and crawl spaces.

Never get close to a spy as a merc. Spy grabs are surprisingly easy and merc melees can't compete, especially if the spies are using specific gloves that extend their melee range. Always keep them at arms' length and if you see a spy at range, don't be afraid to shoot. They can't do much, even with their SMGs.

Environmental knowledge is important to mercs too. Knowing where there are high ledges can help you stay alive, keeping out of reach of spies trying to ledge pull or death from above.

Lone wolves won't succeed, even in TDM. There is strength in numbers, even if there's no communication or teamwork there can still be avengers.

Patience is key no matter the game type. Spies need to be absolutely sure of their plan since they die so easily and mercs have to pick their route carefully lest they walk into a trap. Even in something as simple as TDM, you can never be sure how much the enemy knows with their goggles and visors scouting the environment. Waiting a few more seconds can pay off more compared to rushing into a situation rashly.



Spy tips
Your choice in goggles can determine how you play:

Sonar goggles can detect people at range intermittently but it can be a liability at close range when you need real-time feedback against aggressive enemies.

Thermal goggles give you an accurate, live image but at the cost of short range. Everything past a few meters won't render in your goggles and you'll have to turn them off to see further.

The EMF gives you a mix between the two, with medium range and real-time imaging but there can be a lot of visual noise as it also picks up on other ambient electronics.

Good spies need to balance their goggle usage. Too much time with them on can cause you to lose important visual information like brightness and cover, not to mention detection from merc RFD visors. Not using them enough can lead to you getting blindsided unexpectantly.

Be careful about how you use your SMG. You can kill mercs if you get the drop on them and they're not too armored. Too much armor though and you'll be completely outclassed. Spy vs spy, SMGs are a great equalizer when you both have so much awareness. You'll be able to gun down a lot of spies who reckless try to charge you for a melee kill.

In case you don't know, the accuracy rating refers to how tight your bullet grouping is. Control refers to how well the gun deals with recoil. Considering that SMGs are fired from an awkward third-person view unlike the merc's first-person view, accuracy and control are important factors while power should be a secondary concern. Most spies don't take any armor anyways and shooting mercs is usually a bad idea so damage per bullet doesn't matter in the long run.

The stun crossbow is a high skill curve weapon. It's a one shot, silent crossbow that fires a bolt that stuns enemies for a decent amount of time. Usually enough time to run up and score a much easier melee kill. You need to be sure of your aim though because a miss in a face-to-face confrontation is usually death. At least you can use it while hanging off a ledge though, unlike the SMGs.

The spies only offensive gadget is the sticky camera. These things are essentially C4 as you can throw them and detonate their impressive explosive ordinance after they've landed. Goggles make using the actual remote camera function redundant but it packs enough explosives to kill even the most heavily armored merc. Unlike C4 from Call of Duty, you'll be stuck standing still momentarily as you shift to the camera view and detonate it but the blast radius is deadly.

The intel suit is an important asset to any team. Spies utilizing it best move slow and stay alive because the ability to see enemies through walls without losing peripheral awareness is so good. Not to mention you won't have to risk RFD mercs from detecting you if you keep them off thanks to the tagging.

The digital ghillie suit doesn't provide perfect invisibility but it's useful enough to cross open spaces and hide on open ledges with some peace of mind. Scoring kills with it on also nets you an extra 100 points for a ghost kill.

The overcharge suit not only shuts down enemy tech and equipment, but it resets the cooldown on their suits' powers as well. It's also a full proof method of countering annoying enemy drones. I've scored hilarious mine kills with this suit too.

Most spy equipment is easy enough to understand but remember that if you're playing Blacklist mode, it is highly recommended that the hacker equip the EM Fuzzer pants. The hacker cannot afford to expose himself, even when faced with opportunistic kills and removing your enemy ID tag goes a long way in helping you hide. If you don't have EM Fuzzers, leave the job to someone who does and run interference.

If you're wondering why you're losing in a spy vs spy melee collusion, chances are they're using takedown gloves to extend their melee range.

Armor for a spy is great if you want to play aggressively. Especially in playlists like TDM where armor will make the difference in spy versus spy situations. You can easily win most SMG fights with extra armor against most spies who run armorless.

Want to try for a stupid melee kill? If you press the cover button while running, you'll slide, preserving your momentum while dramatically lowering your profile. Useful for avoid gunfire and ducking into cover but also great for sliding under bullets while getting into range for a melee kill. You're sure to piss off your fair share of players with this useful tactic.



Merc tips
You can equip extra armor but keep in mind that most spies would rather swing around and try to instant kill you with their melee. That's not to say armor isn't useful though as it will discourage spies who get cheeky with their SMGs and it is important against other mercs in mixed games.

The motion tracker is by far the easiest merc visor available plus it's available by default! Put simply, a cone detects fast moving targets in a 90 degree wedge in front of you every second or so. In other words, tracking isn't in real-time but on rapidly refreshing radar. Each refresh also beeps, which is useful for alerting you to sudden movement. The beep is actually what makes the motion tracker the easiest to use as it audibly warns you of hostile movement, which can bring your attention quickly. It's completely blind to crouch walking and climbing movement so you'll have to look up and check your corners to be safe. The motion tracker is the only visor guaranteed to work too, since there isn't any equipment that outright blocks it except for player discretion. This makes the enhanced detection helmet a good choice, extending the reach of your motion tracker before enemies begin to to assume they're in range of your detection device.

The ATS (acoustic tracking system) is the least explained visor in the game and partially what inspired this guide. While it describes it tracks gunfire at long range and footsteps at close range, it fails to explain that it provides a reticule over loud gunfire while the bottom of your hud displays a sound graph. The sound graph moves in the direction it detects footsteps and other ambient sounds like explosions and it even tells you if it's in front or behind you! If the graph spikes upward, it's in front while downward spikes tell you the sound is coming from behind. The ATS is fundamentally similar to the motion tracker, giving you directional information of hostile movement but the ATS provides information in real-time but lacks any audio assistance. It's possible to sweep your field of view back and forth and miss very minute footsteps come from one direction. Still, the ATS rewards vigilant mercs with very accurate information since it is possible to pick up on the sounds of spies crouch walking and climbing. Beware of spies wearing silenced boots though. Of course, silenced weapons won't be highlighted with reticules.

The RFD (radio frequency detector) is the most specialized of the three merc visors. It specifically detects enemy equipment, including spy goggle usage. The good news is that when spies use their goggles, it practically advertises their location, plus you`can see annoying traps like proxy mines. The bad news is that you can't tell if a spy is using the RFD blocker or if they're just sitngy with their goggles. A good tip is to check if your opponent can be tagged by UAV or intel devices. If you can tag them, its safe to assume they're using the RFD blocker. If a blocked notification appears telling you that you can't tag them, they're probably using the RFD blocker. I personally use it in tandem with an intel device to cover my bases and always detect someone regardless of equipment.

Taking mines can be useful if you run the UAV suit. Place them at choke points where you want to deploy to protect you while you're vulnerable controlling your drone.

The adrenaline suit is really useful when dealing with gun fights, as the increased health and mobility makes all the difference in taking heavy fire. The speed boost is also useful to combine with sprint boots for crazy marathon dashes.

The disruptor suit pairs well with RFD to disable equipment. You can also pester people through walls and cover and keep their equipment usage down.

The rest of your experience will boil down having a good team to back you up. You may experience stacked teams and rage quitting on the majority of Spies vs Merc's objective gametypes but TDM is a good place to start off by yourself since you're more likely to play against other individuals and the pace of TDM means people are more likely to finish complete games. Keep in mind that in gametypes like TDM, the teams will be mixed so you may do spy vs spy or merc vs merc but overall, these tips will work in general.
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People who scoff at playing Animal Crossing or are intimidated by jumping into the series simply don't understand the intricacies that come with interacting with wild, untamed animals as they talk about macaroni and cheese or how they bought too many beds and how willing they are to give the extra to you. There's also the well known fact that Animal Crossing works in real-time so that when its 2pm where you are, it is 2pm in your imaginary town of animals unless of course you've set the time and date incorrectly in your 3DS, in which case, you monster. What makes you tick you sick freak?

Do you want to play Animal Crossing? Do you not know how to enjoy slow, village life much like a small, high class dessert that costs $8 but is only worth around four or five bites? I'm here with two months of animal life to guide you on the steady path to animal success. You may also recognize animal life as the G rated alternative to thug life so pick either or.



Pace yourself
Animal Crossing isn't a game to be enjoyed for several hours on a binge like Call of Duty or Civilization or Shadow the Hedgehog. It's a game meant to be played for a half hour to an hour each day as you incrementally build your town day by day, introducing new features, new villagers, and new buildings. When you first arrive, there will be five animal neighbors with barely a store and forest life. Over time, more neighbors move in (hopefully ones you like and not scary ones like Pietro or Katt), your stores expand and increase their stock, and interesting things appear in your town to make it visually interesting like a zen bell or a bonfire or a random pile of pipes.

Not to mention you can match the town's activity to match your own. It's hard to imagine a town not set to night owl so you can play in the wee hours of the night when you work a job but you can also set the town to beautiful mode so that villagers pitch in to remove weeds and water the flowers. That way, you don't have to worry about playing a little everyday as maintenance and upkeep is partially held up by your townies. Weeding? In my game? Screw that! Let that snooty rabbit on the edge of town take care of that noise!


Image from phuzzycomics

Set goals for yourself
Animal Crossing has all sorts of things you can do that take more than a day to complete. Expanding your house, building public works projects, designing rooms in your house. Animal Crossing doesn't have a set goal but it sure as hell has goals. You just have to make them yourself.

For example, I wanted to build The Roost cafe as soon as possible so I could snag that nice looking cafe uniform shirt. But I knew the cafe wasn't going to be immediately available. First I was going to have to bring in fossils to Blathers so I could encourage him to ask me to build the second floor of the museum. After having that second floor built and having it around for 14 days, Blathers would ask me to build the cafe. Then I'd be able to raise funds to build it. Then, once its built, I can work at the cafe several days and eventually the barista, Brewster, will reward me with the uniform I wear during work.

My girlfriend had a different goal in mind. She wanted every piece of fruit you could have and plant carefully planned orchards in her town to make it look as nice as possible. Having as big an orchard as possible so she could harvest a huge bunch of fruit and relish the money that comes from having so much colorful fruit.

I also aimed to collect all the bug furniture that comes from succeeding at the summer bug-off competition. AlphaDeus committed to the goal of turning all the fossil models into miniatures and displaying them in a personal museum gallery entitled, "What is this? A museum for ants?"

A goal could be as accessible as a few days to as complex as needing several weeks to reach. Reaching for your goal in addition to your daily routine is a big deal towards enjoying everyday in your town.



Establish a head canon
When all else fails to grab your attention, you can always create your own internal stories from the day to day interactions with your neighbors. The animals of Animal Crossing have some surprising dialog in store for you and you'd be surprised at the kind of things they'll say and what you can infer from reading between the lines unnecessarily.

For example, I have two koala's in my town, the lazy Ozzie and the uchi Canberra. I imagine they have a sibling relationship since Ozzie acts like a kid and Canberra asserts her maturity often. The two would often play together though Canberra needs to keep Ozzie out of trouble.

Lolly is a sweet cat who lives by herself near the train tracks. She's a university student, often times going to the museum to learn about natural history and biology while also going out to hunt for her own specimens to learn first hand. She'll also often ask me for help in catching rare, hard to find specimens like sharks and valuable beetles.

Hopper, my favorite, is a cranky old penguin who's been living in Harbor since it was first made. He's much nicer than he actually appears, simply lording his age and experience over the younger denizens of Harbor a bit too much and appearing stuffier than he actually is. He's my close confidant though and I love shooting the breeze with him on calm blue days while fishing the nearby river. We've exchanged quite a few interior design tips too, as we've visited each other's homes a lot.

As you can see, there's more to be invested with if you put your own story behind your villagers. My girlfriend loves two particular neighbors, Filbert the squirrel and Bill the duck. In fact, they're neighbors! And by coincidence after the fact, she put her police station (run by Booker) between them. In her head canon, Filbert and Bill are constantly vying for her attention. And Booker is awkwardly playing mediator between the two, despite having the assertiveness of a starving mouse.

Even after two months, my time in Animal Crossing is still relatively warm. Despite a few new games coming out, I'm still called back to check on my fruit, neighbors, and whoever is visiting town. Even though I've been playing forever, there's actually still a few new things to unlock, such as the final store renovation and a few golden tools, not to mention seasonal changes and holidays! So get out there and experience a new leaf!

All other images from danbooru (warning, potentially nsfw)
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Animal Crossing is regularly known for its sugary sweet, laid back atmosphere. Neighbors are squirrels or ducks who are typically generous and give you free stuff just because you're cool. But there is a dark undercurrent hidden beneath the surface. You can truly play Animal Crossing in any fashion you want and that includes creating some dark themes for your visitors.

In Animal Crossing New Leaf, you cannot visit random villages. You can visit your friend's towns, which is great because you wouldn't want a random tourist to run around in your town and ruin all your hard work. At least when your friends come over, you know where they live in most cases and you can bring physical punishment upon them. There is however an option to visit towns anonymously without having to worry about inflicting permanent damage on it: the Dream Suite. Once this public works project is built, you can upload dream data of your town (earning 5,000 bells as reward) which allows other mayors with a Dream Suite to browse a catalog of dream towns to visit with impunity. They are dreams after all, so your real towns aren't affected.

Now for most mayors (lazy), you'll be sharing your own town and how you flavored it, like where you put your campsite or your cafe. For really hardworking mayors though, it is their chance to show off some really unique, themed towns. And this is where we come to the infamous Aika village. Aika village has a level of infamy on social media for being a truly awe-inspiring, horror themed town. I first saw pictures of it but did not know it was Aika village. It was until my friend, Mayor Steffu, shared a picture of her visiting Aika village and showing the mysterious grave that can be found on the far end of Aika village. Most mayors who know about it agree that it is a defining town that makes the Dream Suite relevant. Especially since it's been out in Japan and Asia in general for much longer than the West, longtime owners have had plenty of time to design truly interesting villages like Aika village.



When you wake up in Aika village, you're greeted by a surreal landscape; almost as if you're not fully awake for the dream yet, as well as a lone gift that gives you a chilling premonition of how this town will turn out. A single doll for your inventory, alongside several water maiden statues breaking up the monotony. Immediately in front of you is a house, which of course in this strange world, beckons you to enter. The music that plays during dreams helps immerse you into the creepy world as well, not to mention the mayor suddenly appearing as you walk around.



The first house shows a serene moment in time. A small family celebrating something with a little girl wearing Aika's outfit enjoying the attention and happiness of what is probably a fleeting moment in time. K.K. Hypno is also playing in the background and it's Aika village that makes most mayors who know the legend of Aika village fearful of receiving this particular song from K.K. Slider when he plays Saturday night.





But move over to the cliff overlooking an unconnected beach and you'll see an eerie grave which taunts you with its inaccessibility.



As you progress through the rows upon rows of perfect peaches and roses, you'll soon come upon several bushes and holes that corral you into a specific path unless you can work to dig up the pitfalls and bushes that contain you. A lone fortune cookie also tempts you and if you pick it up, you'll find a reference to Majora's Mask which only fills you with more dread on top of the quickly deteriorating village, eerie music, and sense of dread that something chilling is coming your way.





After forcing my way off the beaten path to reach the police station, I was greeted by Copper who's lost and found was filled with beehives. Truly a perplexing story point. Even more perplexing is a graveyard nearby filled with copies of the doghouse furniture piece. Is there anything connection to Copper's presence nearby?



The next house takes the story beats of the homes to a quick nose dive as you enter a pitch black room filled with stools and exit signs. Things are only weirder in the adjacent rooms with a doll party with food and artistic statues depicting the fall of Adam and Eve. At this point, while not directly creepy, it is slightly unnerving to see all this instead of some happy-go-lucky town filled with bright, colorful themes.







The next portion is what cements Aika village's image as the premiere scary town of the Dream Suite. Weeds pop up, trees are dead, and worst of all, the next house is a very deliberate shanty house. And inside you're quickly greeted by a doll with an ax in front of it. In my interpretation, things have gone horribly wrong with Aika, and she murdered her family in a fit of insanity. If you can maneuver the bookcases, you'll find a dilapidated piano room, a room filled with torn out pages, a murder scene, and worst of all, a scene right out of Poltergeist with the doll sitting in front of the television.

















I must add that every time I exit a building and I see Aika right next to me, it is genuinely startling.

The last house at the end of the town is like the first in terms of set up, but shows the aftermath of the grisly murder. The floor is littered with trash, it's a mess everywhere, and the former room with all the paintings have the parents scribbled out, as if it was pre-meditated murder. And the final room to check out appears to have contained the evil that is Aika and the doll.









It's worth noting that somewhere in Aika village is a wetsuit that can be worn in order to reach the lone grave on the stranded beach. And what does one find if they dig it out? Well, what else but a creepy skeleton!

The Dream Suite is a great diversion. It's nice to be able to visit your friend's towns while they're not on but it's also cool to check out all the stuff we missed while Japanese players had their grubby mitts on the game with their a head start. Even if you're not sure of the Dream Address to travel to, you're sure to find some interesting towns and homes if you browse according to region and check out the Asian countries. If you want to personally explore Aika village, punch in 2600-0218-7298 and get ready for a bracing story that'll chill you to the bone.
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