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I heard about this deal on friday and due to recommendation from others, decided to go out to get it yesterday, the deal is in-store only as the game isn't even listed on the website. Phoned up Gamestation and managed to reserve the last copy of it in that store, travelled for 50 minutes across London to pick it up. It seems the stores are not stocking alot of copies of it (it's unlikely there was only 1 copy left due to high demand).



Lugged my PS3 to Uni just to play it (also to replace my RROD 360 :(). This is actually the first SRPG I have ever played and also the 3rd game I have ever bought without playing it beforehand or playing its predecessor, so I wasn't sure I would like it that much (especially as I am not that big on JRPGs). Luckily enough I am enjoying it so far although it seems to have a bit of a Metal gear Solid syndrome (way too much exposition), I have just selected my squad and am about to play the first proper mission.

p.s. Do not go to Gamestation Camden town London, it's sold out there as I got the last copy :).








For all those who haven't pre-ordered off Steam (i.e. those in places like the UK where the steam version cost a shitload more than a retail copy due to shit exchange rate.)



Servers are getting pummeled at steam at the moment though.
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jkh13
11:36 AM on 10.25.2008

Last night I went to an epic video game event, I went to see VGL in London. The atmosphere was intense and it was unlike any music concert I have ever gone to before, loads of gamers inside jokes throughout, funny pictochats during the intermission and all out awesome music. The crowd really added to the whole experience, despite the fact it was a full ensemble ochestra and choir playing, the whole thing felt like a rock concert with fans screaming out, cheering and saying funny things (more on that later).



These were my favourite bits from the show:

1) MGS - I am a sucker for music from MGS so this one was a no-brainer for me. Very epic and funny stage show as well.

2) Zelda + Mario - Classic tunes from classic games.

3) Diablo III - I <3 Blizzard, truly EPIC music from Diablo III.

4) One winged angel - I don't particularly like this song at all, I thought it was overated when I played through FF7 2 years ago but VGL proved me wrong, they played a rock version of it and it ROCKED, truly epic.

5) Funny banter throughout the show.

At the end of the show they were about to play an encore and they started giving hints what it was going to be, Squaresoft game, Nobuo Uematsu as composer, really popular game. Then someone shouts out from the crowd "LOST VIKINGS!!! YEEAAAAHHH!!!!".

At the beginning of the show John Ricotello was going on about the cultural importance of videogames, this is an excerpt from part of that speech:

(John) Some people think Video games are the cause of violence!
(crowd) Booo!!!
(John) I mean how ridiculous is that!
(some random dude) YEAH LETS KILL THOSE FUCKERS!!!



There were only 3 (minor) disapointments from the show:

1) The Halo suite was a bit meh, I was really looking foward to it because I love the music from Halo but they drowned out the strings (the most important part) by making the electric guitar way too loud.

2) Everquest II music was a bit meh

3) It ended.

I would recommend EVERYONE to go to VGL if they can, it is truly an awesome experience you shouldn't miss.







jkh13
6:22 AM on 09.17.2008

The inquirer is reporting that Google is set to buy Valve very soon.

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/09/17/google-valve

The aquisition is likely because they want to capatilize on the excellent Steam platform and use its technology to develop its own stable content distribution platform. They certainly have enough money to make the aquisition happen but I fear for Valve as they have never been tied to any large company before and it could be messy regarding retail distribution of their games.

Also who knows what google might do to Valve? If they owned them they could enforce certain things like deadlines for games e.t.c. which is not the valve way of working.








The first real gameplay footage of OFP2 has been shown at the Liepzig GC2008.





Impressions:

Good:
The graphics are nice, much better than Arma and what I have seen of Arma2 as well. It looks like they were playing the console version as well so the PC version will probably be even better.

AI sounds very advanced which is promising, the AI in OFP1 was already very good so this bodes well.

Bad:
No freelook, one of the best features of OFP1 was the freeaim which made you feel like you were properly holding the gun. I am disapointed they decided to get rid of it.

No action shown in the video. Only some dudes milling around.

4 player co-op. This is bullshit, OFP1 handled 64 player co-op out of the box and this number went to over 100 with mods and addons. Arma supports even more. 4 people is not even a complete squad of men. I would have liked to see at least 64 player co-op and 100 player multiplayer for some epic PVP battles. Instead we are limited to 4 player co-op with 32 player multiplayer (2 and 16 for consoles), this isn't COD4, OFP deserves more players :(.







jkh13
12:14 PM on 08.04.2008

The year is 2001, FFX had just come out,everyone was excited by the imminent release of MGS2 and console hype was at an all-time high due to the imminent release of the gamecube and xbox. A little known, low budget developer has just released a new PC game (in Europe only) with underwhelming graphics, an unintuitive UI and a multitude of potentially game-ending bugs. The game was called Operation Flashpoint: Cold war crisis and was universally lauded as being one of the most innovative and unique gaming experiences around and would carry on to win a multitude of awards.



So what made the game so good that reviews could simply gloss over the mutiple problems that plauged the game at launch? Firstly the scope of the game was simply unheard of at the time, the player could drive tanks, planes, helicopters, shoot tens of weapons, command armies of soldiers and vehicles all across 3 huge islands based on islands found in real life. The game was also shockingly realistic down to the fact it (usually) took 1 single bullet to die and death could come from hundreds of metres away (or even kilometers away if we are talking artillery and the likes).

Tanks were to be feared as infantrymen, you couldn't run without getting tired affecting accuracy and you were expected to be able to hit targets 100s of metres away taking into account factors as bullet drop and time to target. The island may have been your sandbox but you were as vunerable as anyone else in the game. There is one mission in the single player campaign that truelly bought the strengths of the game together to create one of the greatest missions in any game I have ever played.


The setup

Your soldier is resting at base when a command from Hq comes over the radio. Your mission is to take part in a huge offensive to take the town of Montignac from Soviet hands, your squad will be supported by some light armour and air support in the form of some UH-60 blackhawk helicopters.



As you reach a hill overlooking the town your squad disembarks and opens fire on the Russians below taking out a fair number of them, they pose little threat to the combined might of the small army sent to capture the town. The squad leader orders the men to advance and eventually you reach the town wiping out the remaining Russians as they attempt to flee. The mission was easy, too easy.




Suddenly a command comes over the radio, everyone is to retreat immediately and without hesitation. At this point no-one knows what is going on, your squad leader orders everyone to leg it back to the transports.

The US forces are ordered back to base but as your transport is driving away from the town it is ambushed by Russians using the forest as cover. Everyone disembarks and it is total chaos as one by one the US soldiers are taken out by the elite Russian forces all around them. Everyone starts legging it to the forest where hopefully you can escape the massacre. A command comes over the radio: a Blackhawk helicopter is en-route to pick up survivors and transport them to safety!



As the Blackhawk approaches the soldiers the soldiers are all relieved but suddenly a Hind d attack helicopter comes out of nowhere and takes out the blackhawk (whats a Hind D doing in the forest?). Your last hope of rescue is gone and the remaining soldiers flee further into the forest. The Hind D cuts them all down with its gatling gun as they run for their lives. Night is approaching, you are saved by the darkness but you are the only one left. Your mission begins now.

The moment:

You start in the forest as the sun is just coming up, it is early in the morning and you are all alone in enemy territory surrounded by the bodies of your former teamates with only a map, a compass and your trusty M16 to back you up. After exploring a bit around your starting area you will hear a long range radio message telling all survivors to regroup at a co-ordinate on the map quite along way (it would take a couple of hours walking probably).



From there it is up to you how to get there using any means neccesary. I started by moving up to the edge of the forest where I spotted a 4 man patrol about a hundred metres ahead of me. I proceeded to do battle with them taking cover inbetween the trees in the forest. Unfortunately the gunfire drew the attention of a BMP tank which was nearby which moved towards my location to investigate. I hid amongst the bodies of the soldiers I had killed and fortunately the BMP ignored me and went its way.




Taking a look at my map I noticed a small town in the vicinity. When I arrived the town was largely unguarded, I managed to sneak around without being spotted and I noticed a small civilian car on one of the roads. I promptly jacked the car and started going my way when a Russian guard noticed the noise i was making and opened fire. luckily The car shielded me from most of the bullets and he only managed to wound me in the arm as I drove away. Unluckily the noise drew the attention of the BMP from before which had just returned to the town after checking out the forest.



It proceeded to chase me for a while down the road to no avail as I managed to lose it with my expert driving skills. I left the town behind thinking I was in the clear with the BMP staring at me from the outskirts of the town (the driver of it was probably waving his fist in the air shouting obscenities in Russian). I wasn't however as the Russians had called in backup in the form of an attack helicopter. I noticed this all too late and I was stuck in the open facing off against a Hind with only my puny Eastern European car to protect my soft flesh.

It opened fire with the machinegun as I futiley attempted to outrun it. The hind managed to completed total the driving mechanism of the car and I decided that being in the car was probably not in my best interest at the time. Luckily there was a forest very close by which I could probably lose the helicopter in. I proceeded to sprint with all my speed away from the bad helicopter and once again found myself in a forest by myself. Or so I thought. The missions ends and I find myself surrounded by Russians, around me are the bodies of many Americans presumably they were gunned down as they tried to get to the extraction point by the Russians waiting in the forest. Luckily THE RESISTANCE will come and save the day but that is another mission for another day....



A video of someone completing the mission, appears to be on 2x speed or maybe even more:


The impact:

This mission was truly something else. In all the missions before hand you were held by the hand on what to do by your leader and you had the other US forces backing you up. Infact in alot of the missions you didn't even have to fire a single shot to win them, just stay alive. This mission turns the game on its head and gives you a taster of what is to come in terms of difficulty and gameplay.

Another thing that struck me was the number of ways that the mission could be completed. Some people managed to retrieve a LAW missle from one of the dead US soldiers in the forest and take out the BMP. Others managed to avoid detection altogether by using the cover effectively. Some people even avoided the mission altogether by failing the inital assault on Montignac in the previous mission and retreating much earlier therefore reaching the base before the Russians had time to prepare their ambush.

The mission is packed full of pure adrenaline as you attempt to take on overwhelming odds and escape from impossible odds and pure terror as you attempt to sneak past the Russians patrolling the map. it doesn't help that you are only allowed 1 save for the entire mission. It truly pins home the truth that you are just another soldier in the huge war. No heroics, no bullet soaking super soldier, just you trying to survive in the brutal one shot one kill world that is Operation Flashpoint.


note. The pictures are not from the mission, I don't have the game installed at the moment.
note2. If you are thinking of getting Operation Flashpoint don't get the Xbox version, it sucks.
note3. Arma was a disapointment :(