Crime-on Thy Neighbor - SimCity Trailer

Now this is exciting. A new developer diary, featuring a man with a spectacularly waxed mustache, for the upcoming SimCity game has landed and it sure is splendid. It explains some of the games mechanics and the effects your city can have on your neighbors  I for one look forward to being the despot of 'Crimeville' and dispatching my lowlife citizens to terrify the surrounding area.

SimCity is allegedly going to be released March 5, 2013.


Can't Wait... for Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3's review embargo just lifted and wouldn't you know it, the game is being met with almost universal acclaim. The marketing campaign for the game left me ready to ignore it, but a review from my most trusted adviser, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, has got me opening my wallet.

Clint Hocking's Far Cry 2 - a game I wish to write about in the future - is one of my favorite games of the past decade. It had its share of problems, but I was easily able to look past these to the visually stunning, anecdote generating heart that beat underneath. It sounds like the third entry fixes the issues and keeps the goodness. This certainly earns a can't wait.

Check out the latest promotional video.

The cheapest places I've found it on there internet are here and here (UK only)


FTL: Faster Than Light Review

Explore the stars, meet interesting aliens and die repeatedly. There is nothing flashy or complicated about FTL (Faster Than Light). You have a ship, a small crew and a simple mission: deliver vital intelligence to the federation before being caught and destroyed by the pursuing rebel fleet. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the graphics, this is the best way to exercise your inner Captain Kirk or Admiral Ackbar this year. 

FTL puts you in the captain's chair of the spaceship of your choosing. My missions saw me nearly exhaust the list of ships that fought during the Battle of Jutland - you can name your ship after something much less tough, like your cat. But come on, who wants to sacrifice their life for 'The Mittens'?


Shock to the Coin Purse: Patches Released for System Shock 2 and Thief 2

Wait what!? Out of the blue comes two user made patches for these veritable classics. Thief 2 remains one of the best games ever made, and if you've never played through either of these titles this seems like the moment you have been waiting for. The patches are available here along with the details of what they do.

 If you don’t own either of these games Thief 2 can be found on Steam, GOG, and various other reputable sources. System Shock on the other hand, isn't really available anywhere. Unless you can find yourself an old boxed copy of the game on Amazon, your best bet is to visit a site that provides something the rhymes with abhorrent.

 Get into it you taffers.


Liberty for All: Modding GTA4

Oh Liberty City. I've spent countless hours recklessly disobeying your traffic laws and gun regulations, and despite all of this time invested, I keep coming back for more.Grand Theft Auto 4's urban metropolis remains the most stunning realization of a city in a game ever. Sadly, it is starting to show its age.

Lucky for you (and me) there is a prolific modding community that has been hard at work overhauling nearly every aspect of the game. From the ridiculous to the simple, you can completely tailor your experience.

With so many mods out there it can be daunting to get started. To make your life easier, here is the collection of mods I am running.

The goal is simple: enhance the GTA4 experience without substantially changing the core game. With that in mind here are my picks for the best mods for Grand Theft Auto 4.


Cashing in the Chips: Dishonored Trailer

The new Dishonored trailer features a shocking progression of violence... The likes of which hasn't been seen since... Straw Dogs? The Hundreds Year War? I'll let you decide...

Dishonored is out on October 9th in North America, and October 12th in Europe.

Dark Souls Review

Ask and ye shall receive, Dark Souls has arrived on PC. Praised for its design and challenge, Dark Souls harkens back to the days when getting hurt couldn't be cured by cowering behind a wall and enemies weren't as disposable as the game's packaging. Dark Souls punishes the weak, but if you are up for it, the payoff is one of the best gaming experiences in recent memory.

It has to be said that Dark Souls is a straight port of the console version of the game . Don't expect to find many of the features you are used to seeing in a PC options menu. Fortunately, an enterprising chap has already found a work around to the limited resolution. The fix provides the depth of customization that will make Dark Souls a great looking game. It is also advisable to play with a controller as the keyboard and mouse support is poorly implemented.

This lack of optimization is a shame, however if you can get past it, you are in for a stellar experience.

And by stellar I mean brutal. You are going to die, a lot. This is a game that never holds your hand.


Frustation - PlayStation Store Woes

I own a PlayStation 3. Please, don't judge me too harshly,  I only bought it to play the games I don't have access to on my beloved PC! I mean how else was I supposed to play Red Dead Redemption?

That's not entirely true. From Gran Turismo to Metal Gear Solid, I have a long standing affection for PlayStation exclusive titles, and let's be honest, there are some great games on the PS3. I say all of this in the hope of defusing any tension the following rant may cause. It is not my intention to fan the flames of platform allegiance, I simply want to vent some frustration with a recent experience and offer some sagely advice from a member of the PC gaming master race. Sorry...

Speaking with - or perhaps preaching to -  friends who are primarily console users about PC gaming, I frequently hear the same points; consoles are cheaper, easier to operate, and more reliable. I take issue with all of these statements, but for the purposes of this article I will focus on the second point.

Up until Sunday I've always bought my PS3 games from a store. Simple, right? I think antiquated is more appropriate.


Alpha to Beta - Installing Dayz 1.7

The updates just keep on coming and this is a big one. Dayz is moving into Beta.

At the moment there aren't many servers running 1.7, but I expect this will change shortly. I whole heartily endorse installing the update. While I have not investigated any gameplay changes, I can say it has eliminated the epic wait times to join a game.

Installing it was not exactly straightforward, but since I am literally the most generous person alive you can learn from my hard(ish) work. As a disclaimer this is for the Steam version of the game.

Installing Dayz
Download the Dayz 1.7 code from here and install it as usual.

Preparing Arma2
You will need to install the beta patch for Arma2. This, generally speaking, has the added bonus of boosting your fps in game.

Follow this man's instructions for installing the beta patch.

Once you have finished getting the patch installed you will need to tinker with the file. Follow the instructions in the third post in this thread. By default it will start in windowed mode. Just hit alt-enter when it starts or remove " -window " from the file.



Better Days - Dayz 1.6 Released

If you`re spending Sunday battling the undead hordes/still living hordes of Chernarus, a new version of Dayz has been released. You can now play as a lady-survivor! This is a one time decision, so choose wisely. The update also introduces a hatchet. Unfortunately, it is not for chopping up zombies like some deranged viking warrior, but for gathering firewood. Oh well.

Get the update here.

Read the full list of changes here.


Dayz Survival Guide - Part 2

If you told me that a mod would catapult Arma2 to the top of the Steam charts, attract attention from the mainstream games media and have over a hundred thousand players I would have called you crazy. Well who is crazy now? ...It's still you.

The mod has grown along with the player base, adding new mechanics, quashing bugs, and slowly refining the experience. This sadly has rendered my first survival guide woefully inadequate for helping green survivors and grizzled vets alike come to grips with the the world of Dayz. I'm fixin' on rectifying that here.

Without further ado here is...

The Desolate Shroud's Guide to Dayz - Part 2


What the Hell? - Diablo 3 Impressions

After a decade of waiting Diablo 3 has been released. I've been playing it and I am here to deliver some initial impressions.

As with most Blizzard games it has taken an awfully long time to get here, and, to be frank, I didn't know a whole lot about it starting the game for the first time. I was not in the beta, nor did I read many previews. This is not to say I'm not a fan of the series. I've loved Diablo since being shown the first one at a friend's house in Grade 7 and have played both for years. But, Diablo 3 marks the first time in a while that I was going to be playing a highly anticipated game with almost zero knowledge of it prior to starting. How exciting.


What Would (lone) Wolves Do?

The sun had dipped below the horizon casting a faint glow over the treetops in the hills surrounding Novy Sobor. Darkness had already descended on the town as I crept through the vacant buildings and streets in search of water. I didn't have any backup, but this didn't seem to be a problem since the town was devoid of zombies.  

It was pitch black by the time I entered a two story building in the centre of the village. My desperation for a drink and the lack of zombies made me less cautious than normal. I walked down the hallway in search of supplies, my footsteps echoing out the door at the far end. Ducking into a room to my right, I was about to rummage through a pile of cans laying on the floor when I heard the unmistakeable sound of flies out the window. 

I dropped to the floor and listened - footsteps in the hallway. There was someone moving towards me. The footsteps grew louder until he stopped just inside doorway. In the pitch black I could barely see the outline of another survivor, gun at the ready. Laying off to the side of the room he never saw me. I  pointed my Winchester at his chest and fired. The muzzle flash briefly illuminated his face - concealed with a smock - before he fell to the floor. On my way out of the room I put another round into him to be sure. 

In my haste to get out of the area it didn't occur to me that he might not be alone like me. I ran into his friends outside of the building. I didn't see them until they fired. 


Dayz Survival Guide

It's a beautiful morning
Unsurprisingly, the zombie apocalypse presents some challenges when it comes to remaining alive. Having played with mixed results for the past week, I wanted to pass on some sagely advice gleaned from my experiences.


Basic Training: Getting Arma2 Running Smoothly

Anyone who has attempted to run Arma2 knows it is a challenge to get a playable fps.

I found this post on Rock Paper Shotgun quite helpful in optimizing your game: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-2565.html

As a side note many servers don't like the okt_noblur mod linked in the article on RPS. I have found having it installed results in being unable to join a Dayz multiplayer game. 

Don't expect too much. I have a pretty good rig and run between 30fps (in towns) to 60fps (in the woods).


A Few Days with Dayz

There was someone in front of me. I crept through a small village devoid of life. Zombies should have been patrolling the streets and surrounding countryside. The houses were barren. The only items I came across were empty cans of food, empty water bottles, and empty magazines. The dead zombies scattered throughout the town and barren houses meant someone else had likely already passed through. I was following in his wake. I crouched out of sight behind a shed to check my map. I needed to figure out where to go next.

A large settlement lay 2 kilometers to the northeast - Zelenogorsk. Hopefully I could find some food, water, and most importantly, ammunition there.  My unseen companion had likely already been, I just hoped there would be something left over for me.

I checked one more house on the outskirts of town before heading north. Luckily this one had not been ransacked yet. I retrieved a new pistol and scoped hunting rifle. Feeling more confident I started across the field.

Not two minutes outside of town I saw some movement in the adjacent field, about half a kilometer away. It was him, the man I had been following. Had he seen me? I clumsily removed the hunting rifle from my back, peering through the scope to try and get a glimpse of him. He was moving north-east at a jog, the smock wrapped around his face told me immediately he was a bandit. I dropped to the ground and brought my rifle up, poised to fire. He had disappeared. I frantically scanned the field to try and catch sight of him, but it was too late. By the time my scope passed over him laying prone in the field, he had already lined up his shot. The last thing I saw was a puff of smoke rising from his barrel. The crack of the shot came a few seconds later.