Finishing The Fight

I’ve been a gamer for a number of years. I’ve put countless hours into various genres of titles. Some great, some bad. One thing however has stayed the same.

I have a problem, one I hope I’m not alone in having. That is...

...I rarely complete a game.

Since a young age I’ve only completed a small number of videogames. Why is this? How have I not completed Mass Effect 3 yet?

As much as I get drawn into well-written storylines, complex characters or even just good old fashioned enjoyable gameplay I can only best describe myself as a ‘Magpie’. While an actual Magpie is drawn to shiny objects for it to pick up in its beak and fly away with, I on the other hand pick up videogames with my hands, buying or borrowing new titles/classics I’ve never played or curious games I wish to know more about. Regardless of what game I’m playing until that point, and again regardless of my location within the game’s life span I cannot simply resist temptation. “I’ll just have a quick go to see what it’s like” turns into a couple of hours. I then rarely go back to whatever game I was playing beforehand (usually turning my attention to another title altogether or playing more of the recently acquired game).

Some videogames I’ve got within maybe a little over an hour of the final conclusion, only never to see it through to the end. One such game is the Gamecube classic, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Everything about that game had me hooked, and I still regard it as one of my favourite Zelda titles...but I never fully finished it.

Various elements have contributed to this problem. Staff discounts, borrowing titles from work or friends, hype, expectation and curiosity to name but a few. Even as a child however, when I got to play games on a more regular basis for longer periods of time without the funds to purchase new games...I still didn’t finish a large number of those that I did have.

I occasionally look at some of the games I’ve gathered and feel like hanging my head in shame.

One game did break this trend,
A game from the creative minds at Square-Enix,
An RPG that divided opinion.

That game is Final Fantasy XIII. While not being one of the best titles from the series it didn’t deserve quite the level of negative attention it received by quite a number of critics and gamers. Besides, my enjoyment of FFXIII wasn’t purely down to the game itself, but more so the build-up to the first time I’d placed the game into my Xbox 360.

A friend of mine invited me to join him and his girlfriend on a trip to London for the launch event of FFXIII, which was being hosted by HMV. We arrived at the large Oxford Street store just after midnight and had to wait around until late in the afternoon for the event to begin. I’d be lying if I said between the hours of 2am and 5am I hadn’t thought about catching the next taxi that went past and ask to be taken to the nearest Travelodge as the temperature dropped. However, we all made it through, getting our copies of the game/strategy guides signed by the game’s producer and art director before heading back home. We also got interviewed by a number of people from the gaming press prior to entering the event (which made me realise how much I’d like to break into the games journalism field, one which I continue to press towards today).

Seeing as I’d gone to such lengths I felt as though I had to complete XIII. Many games fought for my attention, but still, even after a number of months in some cases I still kept returning to the world of Lightning, Sazh and Co in an effort to finally finish the game off. It took longer than I ever anticipated, but after 2 whole years I finally saw the ending credits.

I’d actually finished the first disc and half in a relatively quick time, while the rest of the game saw me increasingly getting distracted. Other games I’ve completed haven’t taken anywhere near as long, for example Bioshock which I completed in and around a month.

I love seeing the cinematic endings of titles, the twists and turns of the storyline right down until the credits roll and the general satisfaction of finishing the game. Yet still my Magpie-like mind continues to prevent me from seeing the above mentioned points.

Will I ever get over this trend of not finishing most of the games I place in my consoles? Probably not, however now that I no longer work in games retail I’ve found myself purchasing less games. In fact, in the past couple of weeks I’ve returned to a number of games I’d yet to finish, with my plan tonight being to finish off THQ’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (I’m a massive Warhammer fan).

Let’s also not forget that all important element, Time. It’s a precious thing nowadays, with work, a girlfriend, friends and family to think about. I’m lucky to get to play games as often as I do, with a increasing amount of my gaming time going to my iPhone or handheld consoles. I wouldn’t change my social life however to accommodate more gaming. You could even say I enjoy my gaming time more than I’ve ever done as I do less of it (even if it’s to play a terrible game).

I’d like to think I’ll return to Mass Effect 3 next and see the ending which caused an uproar in the videogame community earlier this year. I almost feel ashamed for not being able to join in when the battle lines were drawn between those who felt it was fitting for the end of the trilogy and those who didn’t.

I’d like to stress that a number of games I’ve never or nearly completed isn’t purely down to my enjoyment of that particular title. Mass Effect 3 is an incredible game, it’s just a case of getting distracted by other titles.

So, Gaming Unity readers, do any of you suffer from the in-ability to finish a large number of your games? What’s the longest period of time it’s taken you to finish one of your games? Can any of you beat 2 years? Comment and discuss below.

If any of you are interested in reading more about the launch event for Final Fantasy XIII then please click this link. It contains more information on my night in the capital, the cosplayers on display and videos of me getting interviewed and featured!
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Our Servers

Here at GU we've recently started on setting up servers and groups for you to use, so there's somewhere you can play with other GamingUnity members and chat a bit. The keen-eyed of you will have noticed the new link on the right hand side of the front page, 'Game Servers'. If you follow this link, it will take you here and show what we're currently running.

At the moment, we only have the following game and chat servers/groups: DayZ, Mario Kart 7, RaidCall and Minecraft (only accessible via IP at the moment). We hope to expand upon this soon, but aren't really sure where most of the demand lies as we mainly play DayZ and Minecraft, or publisher run servers for console games. If you have a game that you think would benefit from having it's own GU server, please let us know in the comments below!

Here's the current state of our DayZ server (you can also view who's connected to the server by hovering on the DAYZ image on the right of the main page):



If you want to be recognised as a GamingUnity member, please update your DayZ character with [GU]. If you do this, we'll TRY not to kill you if we come across you. If we do, feel free to tell everyone that we have done, encouraging them to seek vengeance for you. We promise to do the same if you kill us. Seriously, we hold grudges. Wait for Episode #6 of JurassicJunkie's Let's Play DayZ series to see my punishment for lag-shooting him in the face.

We will also look into listing recommended servers on the server page, so if you know of a good server that you think everyone else will like then let us know by either sending myself or JurassicJunkie a message.

We hope to see you in Chernarus, on LU275!

(The server is currently reporting to be out of date by Six Launcher, however you should be able to connect regardless. We're working on this with the server hosts.)
855 Views | 3 Comments

Redditor threatened by (ex) Defcon employee

It seems that some people simply never learn from others' mistakes regarding public relations which vaguely reminds me of the Ocean Marketing debacle a while ago, only not quite so big. An unnamed individual who now used to work for Defcon Servers definitely didn't pay attention in the customer services training section that involved "Don't threaten to publish customers addresses and give them to criminals".

Below you can see an extract of an exchange between a Redditor, SinisterPrime, who wanted to hire a DayZ server from them. The full story isn't clear from the image alone, but the OP rented a server and didn't receive the service he expected. SinisterPrime even admits that they made some mistakes with the service but this seems to have had no effect. Below is the content which SinisterPrime received, unprompted, from Defcon:


[quote]So you want to play games you little shit? How about I post your home address and personal details all over the internet? Would that make you happy? Watch who you fuck with. I will make it so every criminal in your state has your address.[/quote]

It also makes you wonder just who the support agent socialises with if they believe it to be within their capability to give every criminal in a state someone's address, but we get the impression that might've been a vague exaggeration.


The original email and SinisterPrime's reply

SinisterPrime's latest update detailing the full exchange

And finally: The original comment that started it all


Via Reddit, so don't repost please
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Need a reason to play Skyrim again? Look no further.

So, Skyrim is great. If you haven't played it yet, you really should, there is something in there for nearly everyone. I am not here to talk about Skyrim however, I am here to talk about the first official expansion to the game, Dawnguard.

At the time of writing, Dawnguard is only available for the 360, with a 30 day delay before it hits PC, and PS3. Being that my PC is currently a (very) expensive doorstop, I booted up my X-box, loaded an old save, and leapt in. Almost immediately someone approached my gigantic Nord and told me that The Dawnguard are recruiting. I promptly told him to leave me alone, I was much too busy exploring what else the expansion gave me to worry about silly things like plot development. To my surprise, the plot actually DID leave me alone; I was told where the Dawnguard were located, then left to my own devices. The next loading screen then told me how to access werewolf perks.

Werewolf perks? Oh THIS I had to check out. In the vanilla game, werewolves quickly found themselves irrelevant. There was no way to improve your damage, or heal other than eating. Late game, the best use for werewolf form was a very dangerous travel power with no map. I trekked my way out of town and transformed, eager to examine this tree.

To earn these new perks, you need to eat the hearts of anything you kill. The first step of the tree can be selected four times, and ups your damage by 25% each time. After that it splits off, one branch increasing your health and healing abilities, the other three talking about totems. I had to look it up, but totems allow you to change your werewolf's howl from a simple terror-inducing effect, to a tracking ability, and even a summon! The idea of rolling through a group of bandits with a group of werewolves appeals to me immensely, but to unlock the other howls you need to find totems, by doing quests at random for Aela the Huntress (conveniently my wife in this save file). The extra damage and health perks, however, add a noticeable punch to my werewolf, and were easily gained by clearing out some bandit encampments I had been too lazy to clean up before. Each level of the tree takes slightly longer than the last, but I use Werewolf form often enough that it never felt ridiculous.

After messing about as a werewolf for far longer than I would like to admit, I decided to finally give the rest of the expansion a try. I headed to the Dawnguard fort, met an NPC who I am pretty sure will die but I hope doesn't, and was given my first crossbow. I would love to go into an in-depth comparison of crossbows vs regular bows, but I am a very up-close-and-personal-your-head-is-on-the-floor-now kinda guy. I tested out the crossbow and promptly sold it. Crossbows seem to use the same skill as bows, so if you already use ranged attacks you will be in luck. Not too far into the quest-line for the expansion (which I will not spoil), you are taught how to craft them. So far I am only able to make steel crossbows even with 100 smithing, but it seems there is a side quest-line to change this. Two quests into this option and my crossbow ignores 50% of armour, and has explosive bolts. Some people were concerned bows would be irrelevant with the addition of crossbows, but near as I can tell this is not the case.

Vampires are, as you probably already figured out if you have seen any promotional images for this expansion at all, the centre-point of all of this. These are no Twilight vampires, they are horrid, violent, secretive creatures. I was given the option to transform, but turned it down, being madly in love with my new werewolf powers. Vampires have their own tree, and hideout, but require a lot more commitment than Werewolves. Like in Oblivion, you must feed regularly, or take damage during the daylight, not to mention attract attention. Feeding weakens your vampire strength however, a balancing mechanic I rather like. Vampires can also transform into a horrible form, complete with it's own skill tree, but having turned down the option, I am not sure what that entails.

There is a lot more to this expansion, enough that I haven't even feel like I haven't even brushed the surface yet. Everything I have seen feels like it is a part of this world, and not simply tacked on at the last minute. The new characters are diverse, and really add to the world, while the new locals feel properly epic. Bethesda has really out done themselves here, and I am really looking forward to exploring this expansion further. If you loved Skyrim (and who didn't!), this is definitely worth a look... but be careful. Some of us were lucky to escape Skyrim's grasp once, we may not be so lucky this time.
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A last look at BF Vs CoD

It’s a well-known fact that if you want a good first-person shooter, you get a game from either the Call of Duty franchise, or the Battlefield franchise. It’s also a fact that there are wildly varying opinions on which games are better, you have the hardcore CoD fans on one side, and the hardcore Battlefield fans on the other. I’ve played many games from both franchises and have found out that there is no clear-cut answer on which games are better.

With Call of Duty games, you have great online connection, decent graphics, and the fun of setting up custom and private servers with friends. However, voice chatting capabilities are mainly used for “trolling”, servers are filled to the brim with hackers, bullet and weapon physics aren’t realistic at all, and there are no drivable vehicles.

On the other hand, Battlefield has amazing graphics, lifelike physics, and drivable vehicles, to name a few wonderful benefits in the game. Unfortunately, online play is notorious for being very glitchy, and you have to pay extra for custom server capabilities. That being said, there aren’t many trolls or hackers on Battlefield games, and, brace yourself for this, but voice chat is actually used to HELP people! Imagine that!

These are just a few main points, but overall, with many years of gaming experience between the two franchises, I can safely say that Battlefield makes an overall better game. But don’t just take my word for it, buy, rent, or borrow a copy of CoD MW3 and a copy of BF3 and experience the truth!
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What were you playing?

This week saw the release of a few games across a few platforms. The usual summer slump in AAA releases is biting a bit but there are some notable highlights.



(For those of you that are UK members a ‘summer’ is what happened 2 months ago when it stopped raining just long enough for the sun to pop out from behind a grey cloud for 30 seconds)



To me the highlight of this week’s releases is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD on 360 and PS3. I remember loving this game, and it’s very cool music, on the PS1 many moons ago. Whilst not as up on skating parlance these days, due to an inability to stay upright on one anymore, this is certainly a game I will be revisiting in the near future to see if I can put together the sort of trick combos I used to when I had a clue what I was doing on games. All the while I shall be singing along, badly, to ‘Blitzkreig Bop’ by The Ramones.



Also out is Anna. A PC game from Italian indie developers Dreampainters that is supposed to rival Amnesia for its s***-your-pants horror shocks. So....on that note I won’t be playing it then, as I am a wuss, but it does look very good. In it the ghostly presence out to get you remembers what you do in the game and uses that against you to provide more scares later on. Which sounds like an interesting concept to me. You'll have to let me know how it goes.



In the ‘also out this week but only getting listed with a very small description given’ section is Mass Effect 3: Earth which is some more multiplayer DLC content for you ME3 MP fans out there.

On PSN you can indulge in some Resident Evil related on-rails shooting with The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles.

On XBOX Live Marketplace or Kinect Central, for free, you get to answer the question you’ve been asking yourself for all those years “Can you land a Mars rover properly or will you Beagle II it?” on Mars Rover Landing which is from the dons of space exploration at NASA.



Special mention of the week goes to Frogger:Hyper Arcade Edition. This is part of the 30th Anniversary celebrations of the arcade release available on XBLA, PSN and WiiWare. Yet again trying to get a frog across a busy main road has never been so much fun or so tedious. Get the feel of playing in an arcade 30 years ago in the comfort of your own home. (Paedo handing out 10p for a ‘favour’, teens ODing on heroin (See ‘Zammo’ being found by ‘Roley’ incident in Grange Hill to get that reference. Bound to be available on Youtube) and suspiciously stained carpet not provided with game...you’ll have to find them yourself to get the true experience of an arcade in 1982).



It is also the last weekend of the SSS(tm) (NOT a rebranding of the particularly nasty arm of the Nazi led German Army.. but the Steam Summer Sale(tm). Much nicer all round I’m sure you will agree).

I picked up some Total War games I used to have but lost in various house moves/kicked out by gf moments (usually the same thing) but am too skint to make any other purchases right now even though the prices are great.



This weekend I would be playing DayZ (it’s addictive!) but my internet is down awaiting delivery of a new router after mine got trashed in a bizarre ‘falling-over-whilst-a-bit-drunk’ incident that was totally NOT my fault at all (...it was). So I will probably just play some of the aforementioned Total War games with some Olympics thrown in as the build up reaches frenzy point for the big kick-off next week (if Steam decides to start up without a connection (which can be hit and miss for me for some reason)).



So, that’s a rough guide to this week in the world of gaming. So what have you been playing this weekend and what, if anything, have you purchased or plan to purchase in the SSS(tm)?



Let us know below!
891 Views | 5 Comments

A Journey To Remember

I'm being shown some very close-up sand. It looks awesome. As the camera zooms out and slowly pans across some scenery I think to myself "Is all the sand in this game rendered on an individual granular level? Man, that would be awesome if it is". I see a dark figure in a red cloak sat down in the sand and am shown a faint picture of a PS3 controller tilting from side to side. "Fuck that" I think, and promptly jam the right analogue stick to the side, spinning the camera at a much more acceptable speed.

In-game, I stand up and head towards what looks like a gravestone on the top of a hill and my journey has begun again.

Many of you will have at least heard of the latest 'game' from artistic developers ThatGameCompany - a game that, similar to their initial outing, is not necessarily as much a game as it is an experience. I'm going to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, but if you've been tempted by Journey (and know what it's about) then go and buy the game and read this later.

I slide down a hill into what would appear to be a very unplanned graveyard that spans the few hundred metres in front of me, marvelling at the way the sand flows realistically underneath my feet, creating a bow wave and everything. After reaching the end of this sombre plain I'm reminded that this game is about much more than sand. Picking up my first piece of scarf, I revel in my new ability of jumping and get to the hub as soon as possible, singing to myself using the beautiful 'pings' that are the only form of communication available in this online 2-player game. After reaching the hub, I promptly change my characters' outfit to white which allows recharging of jumps from the floor instead of having to use mini scarfs that you encounter throughout the land. I should note that I did not earn this outfit but my girlfriend did throughout the course of her significant number of play-throughs. I leave the hub and enter the journey from the beginning, lying to myself that I'm not bothered about connecting to another player.

As soon as entering the path proper I can see a white dot dancing around in the distance and think to myself "What the hell, I may as well stick around with this other adventurer for a bit" so I fly over to him and declare my presence with the loudest ping possible. They don't seem to notice me. Either that, or they don't care about travelling with someone else. After chasing him like a lost child to the other end of our current area, they notice me. And they make it very clear that they've noticed me, pinging very frequently and jumping around like a puppy who's owner has just come home. Being the mature gamer I am, I do the exact same overexcited song and dance back, mimicking their pattern. To show off my experience (or lack thereof) in this game, I make my character fall over a few times to my amusement. They do not seem impressed by my falling over, so slightly disheartened we start to progress to the peak of the mountain.

On our journey, we spend almost the entire time singing to one another, playing miniature tunes through the pings and constantly mimicking each other. My girlfriend, who is watching due to how much she loves this game, comments that they're a very vocal individual, but I disagree - this is how the game should be played in my opinion, communicating with your partner as much as isn't annoying. Flying through the desert my inexperience with this game frequently becomes evident as I misjudge jumps and head in completely the wrong direction. Clearly they're a very patient individual though and wait for me during all of these mistakes, frequently calling out to check that I'm still with them. I feel touched that they want to stay together throughout this voyage.

We're now closer to the mountain and still progressing together, staying as close as possible and singing together frequently. As one of us begins to fly the other will follow. When we're both in mid-air and close to one another we ping as loud as possible, recharging the other player's ability to fly. Doing this we manage to stay in the air for about 5 minutes, much to my delight as I've always wondered if that could be done. Along our journey I get attacked by dragons, twice, removing much of my flying ability.

We reach 'that part' of the game and I'm concerned we won't be able to find each other after. As I'm flying to the very top of the mountain I can't find my companion anywhere and a feeling of panic begins to rise. Have they gone on without me? Have I accidentally left them behind? What if they got eaten by monsters?! After flying back and forth for 5 or 10 minutes, I head off in the hope that they are waiting for me up ahead. I arrive at a point that is just before the end of the game and see no one. I can hear no one. I've lost a friend that has accompanied me throughout the last 2 hours, and it is actually a little upsetting that we won't get to cross the end of the game together.

After waiting what seems like an eternity at the top of the mountain, I begin to accept that I should just go and complete the game. In the distance I can hear someone shouting out, so I reply and wait. A second later, my partner flies up onto the mountain I'm waiting on and we reconcile through a fair few minutes of jumping around and in-game singing. Eventually we make the final ascent to the snow covered peaks. We walk through the snow, drawing patterns with our trail, singing and generally not wanting the game to end. As we approach the light, I know that my partner has enjoyed this as much as I have and am incredibly happy about that.

After completing the game I wait to the end of the credits and do something that I never do in online games. I send the person I played with a message, saying how awesome they are. I get no reply until the following day, where they agree that it was incredible fun progressing together.

This person made the game incredibly enjoyable for me, and the bond that was formed during the 2 hour journey with no communication outside a simple high-pitched tone is much more heart-warming than any user-generated experience in any game I've played. Call me sad or a pansy if you so wish, but this is what makes Journey so incredible.

You know who you are, and I thank you for a brilliant experience.
888 Views | 1 Comment

Time to Break the 4th Wall...

He's one of the most out-spoken comic book characters ever penned...and now he's getting his own videogame!

High Moon Studios, the guys behind the upcoming title 'Transformers: Fall of Cybertron' are also creating a game for the Marvel character 'Deadpool'.

Deadpool has featured in a couple of videogames, fighting against the likes of Capcom's Ryu in 'Marvel Vs Capcom 3' and even more recently appearing in Spider-Man's 'Shattered Dimensions'.

There's little more information available, although the trailer (which can be seen at the top of this article) looks as though the studio are staying true to what Deadpool is all about. You may notice he's voiced by Nolan North, who's voiced more game characters than you could shake a stick at).

He maybe very crude, and this will likely have an adult age rating, but he's still a much liked Marvel character.
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What Are You Playing?

Here at GamingUnity, we've been somewhat addicted to DayZ lately to the point where when we can get on as a group everything else is put on hold whilst we play. Girlfriends feel neglected, simple tasks like changing wireless security are delayed for hours whilst we 'just hit this town' and online gaming faux pas, like eating whilst on group chat, are constantly commited without anyone caring. For us this weekend will be different. We will spend time away from desktop PCs and ... well, probably play some console games instead. Largely because we can't all get on at the same time.

This week has seen some gems and some lumps of coal released, in the form of Quantum Conundrum and Inversion (in europe) respectively. Inversion, the game that laughs at the laws of physics, sounded primising with it's gravity wells and other such phenomena that wouldn't be out of place in Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadsite Picnic but has not been well received by critics only managing to achieve a mid-50s metacritic score. Quantum Conundrum, the latest mind bending set of puzzles from Portal's co-creator Kim Swift which tasks you with slowing down time, making things fluffy or completely inverting gravity to rescue your uncle. The Sims 3 also has a 'Diesel Stuff' expansion pack for it. Huh.

So, what are you playing this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!
557 Views | 4 Comments

Amateur Progress - Betrayal, with a side of Regicide

I'm a good person. I pay my taxes early, I hold doors for people, I (try to) genuinely care about other people's problems. I don't like physical confrontations, I like it when people smile. My humor is a dash of self-deprecation with a hint of impish charm. Let's face it - I'm a boring human being if conflict is what you're looking for. Reality show producers would take one look at me and say, "yeah, maybe." After taking one listen to me, they'd show me the door. "Thank you, maybe."

When playing video games, I'm equally boring. I'm the good guy in games. The paladin! (not the kind who kills his father, betrays his entire kingdom and becomes the evil, undead ruler of ice), The knight in shining armor! The one who holds doors for people. Who cares about other people's problems. NPC missing a sheep? No problem, I'm on it! Nope, don't care about the reward! No exp, money or items as rewards? Sorry ma'am, I'm already sprinting across the field after your sheep. Your slightly altered dialogue post-quest completion is more than enough for me. Just the satisfaction of helping those in need is all I need. I shudder at the notion of, *gulp* killing innocents in games. Jedi or Si...Jedi. Always Jedi.

My friends find it quite boring. During 2nd year of University, when Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic took over our lives, it wasn't my room that several bystanders were crowded into, watching my every decision. No, that honor belonged to the few in the residence who a) got the game early and b) decided to be as purely evil as possible. Murder innocents? Show me where they reside. Betray friends? Pfff, they're not even real. They don't compare to the hilarious satisfcation I'll get from the shocked voice actor, condeming my decision to sell a 14 year old girl into slavery or convincing a party member to kill another party member. Did I mention the 2 party members in question were extremely close personally?

I confess all this, because I want you to know how much of a curveball I threw myself in a game of Age of Empires 2 many years ago. It was easily one of my most treacherous, despicable acts in gaming. And what made it worse was my transgression wasn't against an NPC. Or the Jedi council, or the local mayor, or a saintly dragon. This act went against my core principles of being a friend in real life: loyalty and trust. That day, I sacrificed them both for a single second of diablocal lust. I surprised myself. I still do, looking back on it.

It was a 3 player, online match of Age of Empires 2. The mode was regicide - the main goal wasn't to cripple your enemy's army, destroy all their buildings/peasants (although, that's a good tactic in any mode), but rather to eliminate a single unit - the King. A tiny, weak unit that could be easily taken out. But if properly fortified or hidden, he becomes a dastardly pawn in a three way game of chaotic chess. I was playing against 2 of my very closest friends, Francis and Dobson.

Whether they didn't trust each other, or whether they trusted me more, I was approached mid-game by each to team up with them, making it an improvised 2 on 1 match, and almost certain victory for me either way. What started as a Melee-a-trois now turned into a psychological game of poker. I typed to each frantically trying to dissuade each other, to keep on playing. Come on, fair is fair. Let's just play to the last man. NO, come on dude! I have to go soon. Let's just make this quick.

Thankfully, I delayed them each long enough for one of them to take action without my intervention. Dobson attacked Francis with a simple strategy; charge the gates. Would Francis' gate hold? Not likely - he'd forgotten to mine enough stone, so his gate only covered half his entrance. Not being the polite type, Dobson strolled around the half-wall and half-destroyed his town. Shortly afterward, he destroyed the other half of his town.
Sensing destruction was imminent, Francis fled to his only other option - me. I could see a tiny icon waddling his way towards my gate (completed, as long as my stupid villagers didn't chop enough wood to create a backdoor for Dobson) and messaged me frantically to let him in. Be allies with him. He'd give me all the resources I'd need to conquer Dobson, and win the game. Wanting to show some sense of mercy, I immediately became allies with Francis the Temporarily Defeated and escorted his king into my suitably placed castle.

And there he sat for another 15 minutes or so. Dobson was licking what wounds he had and expanded his expanding empire. Wood, food, gold and stone were piling up for both of us. I would take the role of turtle, and attempt to defend with all my might while our 2 kings watched from the crowded castle. I wonder if they fought for the better view? One would think a king who was granted asylum would have the common courtesy to give up shotgun.
Dobson had another message for me. I had to read it three times to ensure I read it correctly. He was right. It would be over that fast, and we could get on with another game. Hovering over the allied menu...I hesitated. Come on, just do it! I'll start attacking you now so he'll never see it coming.

Francis never did. How could he? We'd been close friends for years. If I did this in real life, Shakespeare probably would've said something like, "dudeth, 'he action of all composed by Dollerz is verily fucked up". Switching Francis from allied to unallied booted his king out of my castle, surrounded by my army. I didn't even see the king go down. I couldn't watch.

The game was over.

A phone call. Grimacing, I picked up the phone.

"Jerk."

No arguments there. I'm a bad person.
924 Views | 1 Comment

Slender - Free Scary Indie Game

Today is my first of 4 days off so I spent the morning procrastinating on Reddit. I came across a topic about a new free indie game by the name of Slender.

After a quick Google of the word slender brought me to a page about the Slender Man

[quote]The Slender Man was created at the Something Awful Forums in a thread entitled "Create Paranormal Images." He is described as wearing a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. Once his arms are outstretched, his victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them. He is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk on in a similar fashion to Doc Ock, the Spider-Man villain in the Marvel Universe. The superhuman stretching ability could also be seen as a similiarty between himself and Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Whether he absorbs, kills, or mearly takes his victims to an undiclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any bodies or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.[/quote]

The indie game is based on the Slender Man and drops you into a forest only armed with a flashlight. The objective of the game is to find 8 pieces of paper scattered around the forest while at the same time trying to avoid the Slender Man.

The shocking thing about this game is when you first bump in to Mr Slender he is not as scary as I would expect, if anything he is more of a lifeless polygone doll, so this allowed me to drop my guard and crack on with the game, but with clever character placement and expert timing on the audio does make Selender a very jumpy game.

The game can be downloaded free from here or you can watch my reaction video (including a very manly scream) here
20501 Views | 9 Comments

What're you playing?

The big release this week is Funcom’s The Secret World which is an MMORPG with a difference. No classes, no levelling and loads of swearing and women in leather (my kind of game!). I had the pleasure of playing a bit of the beta and found its approach to be a refreshing take on the genre.

I haven’t personally bought it because I don’t have the time to invest in an MMO game at the moment (or the cash) but I did thoroughly enjoy the play time I got in the beta.

Also out this week is Dead Island GOTY edition. A game I am sad to say I haven’t played but have heard good things about. Let’s face it you can’t beat a good zombie game (unless you use a sledgehammer to bash its brain in).

I also feel I should mention Tour De France 2012 which is also out this week. I personally would think that pretending to be a shaved man in lycra pedalling up a few big hills in France may well be as tedious as watching a load of shaved men in lycra pedalling up a few big hills in France. Unless of course shaved men in lycra is your thing in which case I say good on you and always be safe.

Also out this week (I am contractually obliged to add this bit as a lot was written by McNandy):

The 360 sees the Arcade release of Spelunky - a platformer in which you go ... well, spelunking! The difference in this spelunking? Maps are procedurally generated so you can constantly have a new level to play through, provided you die.

The 3DS has Theatrythm Final Fantasy released for it, which I must admit appears to be a rip-off of Elite Beat Agents but with better music, 'cause it's the music from the Final Fantasy series. Will this be the game to make me finally pick my 3DS up? Probably not, no... because it doesn't look as good as Elite Beat Agents.


So to the point of my general rambling.

Me, McNandy and Jurassic will be continuing our obsession with finding tins of beans and calling things by their proper geographical names (i.e Christmas Tree, Island thing) on Day Z and I will probably intesperse that with some 2012 London Olympics as I endeavour to get back some world records from my step-son (the little get).

What game(s) will you be playing this weekend? Tell us below!
676 Views | 6 Comments

Final Fantasy VII Re-Release...On PC!

Did today herald the news many people were waiting for?

Is Final Fantasy VII being re-made?

No...it isn't. But, it is being re-released on the PC.

It won't be a straight forward port of the PC version, as the graphics will be upscaled slightly from those we remember from the Playstation (however, I'm pretty sure it'll only marginally make a difference.).

Other additions include a 'Character Booster' which in effect sounds like old videogame 'trainers' you could download for classic PC games. It'll allow you to change your character's levels, the amount of Gil (the title's in-game currency) you have and increase your HP and MP.

This PC re-release will feature 36 unlockable achievements. Expect an achievement for buying the villa in Costa Del Sol and getting hold of a Gold Chocobo.

The only other added feature is a 'Cloud Saving' option meaning you can continue with your save game on any PC with the game installed on (I wonder how much of an influence the lead characters name had on that decision?).

No release date yet, but it's believed to be relatively soon. It'll be available to download from Square-Enix's online download store, which leads me to believe this is Square trying to raise the profile of their online downloadable games.

Gutted that it's only coming out for the PC? Don't forget you can already download the PSOne classic via the Playstation Store to play on your PS3, PSP and also very soon your Vita.

You can find the official Final Fantasy VII PC website right here.
1045 Views | 3 Comments

Dayz DDOS attack

This afternoon I launched Dayz to get my fill of zombie killing (well, zombie avoiding) to find the screen hangs at "Waiting for character to create"

I just gave up and played another game, now its become night I've decided to give it another game now my friends are all getting home from work to find the same problem.

I asked in the in game chat if anyone else is having a problem and I was pointed to "dayzdevteam" twitter account

[quote]Experiencing a sustained network issue with our central server that appear to be a major DDoS attack. Most users will not be able to connect[/quote]

Since then they have posted

[quote]Services have now been restored thanks to solid efforts from Ander and Viper. Although there may be additional outages at any time. -Rocket[/quote]

I then checked on 10 different servers to find no one can log in yet.

So for fun I told Dayz players I would upload a screen shot of the chat to gamingunity and was a little shocked how clean their language was ;)

Fingers crossed they will get the servers up and running again soon.
2263 Views | 1 Comment

My first Dayz experience

I wake up, I’m on a beach, I don't know where I am or where any of my friends are.

I have a rucksack, a bandage and a horrible feeling in my stomach that I can only guess is fear.

I start making my way to a small town to try and work out my location while at the time my friends do the same, we can't see each other but keep in touch via headset.

After 15 minutes or so we all have a rough understand where we are, but the problem is it’s miles away from each other. We name a place on the map as a meet up point and each set off on our own way hoping we are even walking in the correct location.

I follow an old train track when I walk past what I thought was a small town by the name of Elektro I soon find it to be a Zombie hot spot, I hear a noise but have to quickly make the decision is it a normal zombie mumble or a hungry zombie with his eyes set on me? I don't take any chances and run, I chose wrong.

Now I have 5 zombies running after me, and thats when I see a ladder, a few seconds later i’m on a rooftop looking down on the zombies that are now running away? What happened? Did they just give up, and thats when I notice another human running at me. I hide in the hope he doesn't see me, but as he climbs the ladder I can hear "Friendly, Friendly don't shoot".

With no weapons I’m not a threat to him, but he doesn't know that yet. I walk up to him and he throws me a AK47 and says the words “Cover me”, and thats when I hear the sniper bullet fly past my head. We both duck down and wait for a few minutes and spend this time patching each other up.

He then turns to me and say’s “I’m going back down, if you don’t hear from me in 30 seconds, its not safe”, and 3 minutes pass and I’m still sat waiting.. hoping... for a voice but nothing.

I then check my weapon and realise I have no bullets, this is when my friends on headset tell me they have the bullets, and remind me of my mission to get to safety and meet up.

45 minutes have passed since I left that rooftop and I’m starting to panic that I’m getting a little dehydrated, so I take a quick look in a patrol station, the best thing I find is an empty bottle of Jack Daniles but I’m sure the bottle will come in handy so I place it in my bag. Thats when I noticed the zombie at the door way looking back at me.

I run, and it does to. I try going in and around trees to shake him off, but he is still coming, I feel his hand tear away at my flesh. I need water, I’m losing blood and I have the only weapon and im about to die. Thats when I see McNandy for the first time running from out the tree lines... running at me, but why? Then I head MadMags saying “You be the distraction for the zombies, and I will help Tom", and just like that I was saved they was waiting for me like we planned, I can now see McNandy running away with the zombies behind him, and I know its pointless trying to patch me up, im a goner, I say my goodbyes to MadMags, hand him my supplies and take a moment to look at the sky before my eyes get heavy and I leave this world.


I then spawn again another 100 miles away, and shout out "Where the hell am I now"?



Addition: Please be aware that you need both Arma II AND Arma II: Operation Arrowhead to install and access the DayZ Alpha Mod We used these instructions
1676 Views | 6 Comments

What Are You Playing?

One more week of working or learning ending can only mean one thing. One more weekend of excessive gaming! This week sees the apparently (I've not played it so can't comment) controvertial Spec Ops: The Line, as well as the PC version of Tom Clancy's Longest Title Ever Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Us console gamers are also beating treated to a movie-tie-in game with The Amazing Spider-Man, which has actually been relatively well received. Vita users also haven't been forgotten about as they can now get the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. There are also numerous other games out, but this article does not serve the purpose of telling everyone what they probably already know so I'll resist the temptation to make a huge list.

Other than doing a bit of work on GamingUnity, this weekend I'll be playing "Hide in the grass like a pansy" in DayZ, with a side of Minecraft and possibly even some Dark Souls.

What are you playing this weekend?
455 Views | 10 Comments

Guild Wars 2 Release Date

Mark your diaries people, August 28th will see the release of the highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game Guild Wars 2.

A quote from ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien:

[quote]After five years of creation, development, and polish, announcing the launch date of Guild Wars 2 is a huge milestone for us, but the thing we’re most looking forward to is seeing gamers from all over the globe explore this world and begin creating their own stories.[/quote]

I got hands on briefly with Guild Wars 2 last September at the Eurogamer Expo in London. I really enjoyed the visual style of the game and enjoyed using the various classes on offer. The animations (especially when casting spells) look fantastic, and while the game may share similar traits with other popular MMOs it has it's own original ideas to prove this is no copy-cat. The PvP elements in particular look great.

If you preorder via the official site you can gain access to the titles beta. Check out http://www.guildwars2.com/en/ for details.
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Ghost Recon Online

So after jumping through about a thousand hoops to get the game to work I finally got into the Ghost Recon Online closed beta. In spite of the downright impossible process you have to go through (at the time of writing) to get into the game if you aren't in Europe I'm really having a great time with it. I love how it endeavors to step away from the other online shooters out there. With it's relatively fresh take on an existing setting, distinct classes, great use of teamwork centric abilities and well designed customizer I think the game could really stand out when it launches. Even in spite of it's relatively shallow depth.

When you join up with the game you'll have your choice of three classes. The most versatile of these three is the Assault. Perhaps predictably the standard weapon for the assault is an assault rifle but you'll also be able to equip one of many shotguns. The Specialist can use light machine guns and shotguns and specializes in supporting team members. While my personal favorite, the Recon, can use a sniper rifle or a sub machine gun specializing in long-range support fire or ambushing respectively.

GRO sidesteps a problem that plagues a lot of online shooters. That being that mostly all of the weapons seem to function in the same way. War Inc. suffered from this in a big way as almost all of the weapons felt the same and there was almost no difference between submachine guns and assault rifles. Not so with GRO, all of the weapon classes function in their own unique way and damage, as well as other stats, are clearly labelled so you know exactly how an upgrade is going to effect you in-game.

You also command one of two abilities available to your class. Assault troopers can have a riot shield they can used to bull rush the enemy or a microwave field projector for disorienting your enemy. The Recon class can use a personal cloak or the oracle device that can look through walls to see all your enemies. Lastly the Specialist can use his Aegis shield to block incoming fire or the rather too obviously named Blackout to overload your enemy's electronics, disorienting them.

Between all those abilities and the three classes there is actually a huge amount of depth to the combat. What I like best about it is that the abilities are all built to be used for teamwork. After playing a few rounds it's easy to see that if you don't work as a team you will lose, and working as a team leads to a few really great moments. Moments like this: As a sniper, I'm pinned down by another sniper on the second floor of a building. I know if I stick my head up it'll get blown off so instead I use my Oracle device to show my team where the over-watching sharp shooter is for another sniper to take him out. Or as a Specialist I use my Aegis shield to protect my team from the enemy's fire so they can all advance. Abilities like this make you feel like your part of the team. Compare that with abilities in games like Call of Duty where they're only really affective for killing and more killing and you have, in my opinion, a more gratifying experience.

The game is far from perfect however, something to be expected from a game at this early stage in its release. The damage is more often than not delayed so after you pop back into cover you to tend to die from the sniper round you took a second ago. The cover itself is a little bit clunky and sometimes it feels like you're super clued to the wall. The weapon's don't sound quite right and your abilities and health recharge too slowly. The biggest problem that I have with the game however is that you can't change your class during a match. I find it really annoying when I can't change it up when my current tactics just aren't working or when I just get bored with playing that class.

These are all minor bits of gristle on what is basically a flawless steak. The game looks great and plays great, things that a lot of games in early closed beta can't boast. Things like more different kinds of ammunition, a better inventory system and more options for customization will give the game more staying power in a market badly in need of just that. GRO is a game that has great potential but still has quite a way to go if it wants to challenge the free to play market.
502 Views | 0 Comments

First Person Shooters Falling Short

As you read this article, the trend in FPS (First Person Shooters) continues. The trend I am speaking of is game developers releasing games before they are complete because of budget and marketing deadlines. Most of the time these restrictions are not the fault of the developers.

We sit by, as game after game is released without being completed. Developers struggle to make their deadlines and things like Quality Control fall to the wayside because of it. Game developers spend their entire budgets on marketing. We watch these trailers that look just as good as a blockbuster film and we start to salivate. The games get their sales immediately. We run to Gamestop to preorder a copy ASAP.

Release day finally arrives. You peal off the plastic in anticipation. You insert the disk into your PC or console... You play the shortest campaign you have in a while... you are ok with that. You don't buy games for the SP anymore. Now it is time to find out what this game has! You click on the online mode.... you enter a lobby... you are the only one there... This can't be right, the game was just released. So you keep trying for other lobbies. Eventually you make it to a game.. your hopes are high again. You start to play your new game online... kind of. You start to rubber band (back and forth motions caused by lag) all over the screen and then you are booted.

Situations like this shouldn't be common place. We as video game consumers have allowed this to happen. We continue to preorder products without a beta test. We continue to buy these games and then defend the developers by saying, "It is hard to make a video game." I am not saying that creating a game isn't difficult... but there are tons of services in the world that are just as difficult (if not more difficult). If these other services can put out quality products from day one... why can't video games?

I have read over and over again in multiple FPS forums... "Just be patient... they will fix the game. This is how it always is. Stop crying about it." The people who post this trash are the issue. It isn't the developers... it isn't the marketing... it is the people who have come to accept this trend as just how it is.

We have allowed this to happen. I fear we will continue to allow this to happen.

Editor's note: We know that the above screenshot was taken from the Beta version of Battlefield 3's multiplayer, but it was too appropriate to pass up on.
1014 Views | 3 Comments

Congratulations to Jack151

Congratulations to Jack151 who smashed Rainbow Road Time Trial with a unbeatable time of 1:48.154.

You have won yourself a GamingUnity T Shirt and you will now be the envy of all your friends and family.

A new competition will start next week, and to give you a hint the game is a little blocky.. HSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
255 Views | 5 Comments

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