Battlefield 3 Fault Line Gameplay Trailer Episode III: Get that Wire Cut

EA and DICE have released their 3rd episode in the Battlefield 3 Fault Line series. This is taken from the pre-alpha build of Battlefield 3, and looks amazing. You can tell just from this short gameplay how the tone of the game is as far away as Bad Company 2’s tone as is possible.
Check out the trailer below.

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Two New Purchases

I finally managed to pick up two games yesterday that I’ve been meaning to get hold of for a long time, Colin McRae DiRT and Fallout 3. Now I’m not the biggest RPG fan of all time, that record is held n my opinion by Jack Knight. I haven’t gotten around to putting Fallout 3 into the Xbox disc tray yet, but I’ve only heard good things about the game and the Fallout series itself, so I have good hopes about it.
DiRT is a game that I know will enjoy. I have played DiRT 2 to death over the past 12 months, and loading up the original is just so different to the sequel. The best way I could describe it yesterday was a Forza Motorsport meets rally. The menus are slick and the only initial down point was the load menu times that it took to get into a race.
I’m gonna start a write up of my first impressions on DiRT and a full feature of DiRT 2, aswell as getting around 700+ Gamerscore on the first on, and then hopefully sink my teeth into Fallout 3 by the end of the day.
To see what games I’m playing check out my raptr or my twitter in the sidebar.
❤ rollo.

Halo Reach Defiant Map Pack Review

The Halo Reach Defiant Map Pack was released today and is available for download on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800MSP. It can be queued up for download here. The Defiant Map Pack consists of 2 competitive maps, Highlands and Condemned, and a brand new firefight map, Unearthed. The map pack also adds on 3 new achievements for Halo Reach, with it totaling 59 achievements for 1440 Gamerscore overall.

On a side note, I’d just like to point out that some gamers are encountering problems with the maps being loaded and recognized in-game. Bungie addressed those issues earlier with the resolve of going into your Xbox’s System Settings, finding a file called “Bungie Pro Confirmation” and deleting it. From that point on the game will be able to load the maps without any more issues. Deleting this message will not cause any problems with Bungie Pro, as it just a placeholder file that does not impact on the game. I can confirm that this works as my Team Impact teammate had this problem that was fixed by following those steps. If any problems persist you can read the full post at Bungie.net here.

Let’s start with Highlands, an objective oriented map set on Reach in the midst of the Covenant glassing the planet. I think canonically this is set near Castle Base, up in the mountains, but that’s just a personal opinion. Highlands is a great map, it has touches of Valhalla, Blood Gulch and Avalanche to it. Two bases either side of a stream running down the mountains. The palette in Forge is where the Valhalla feel really comes into it. There’s a mix of vehicles available, with Banshees and Falcons able to dominate the airways and Wraiths for Heavy variants. I could see a lot of these implemented into matchmaking in months to come. In matchmaking games however, Ghosts, Warthogs, and Mongooses default set on the map. To counter the vehicular slaughter that could take place, Certain Affinity have placed a Spartan Laser, a Plasma Launcher, two Sniper Rifles and a Grenade Launcher inside the crashed Pelican.

DMRs are placed in perfect positions around the map, up high and down low, at points where you may be lacking ammo or reloading, normally in an open placement with two grenades, with either fragmentation grenades or plasma grenades. Playing Stockpile on Highlands was a joy, as getting the Warthog to run the flags from one end of the map was so easy, I can imagine that Multi Flag CTF is amazing, and would bring a classic Halo feel back to it.

Condemned takes place on a partially destroyed UNSC base set high in orbit around Reach. This is a map oriented around Slayer gametypes, but does work well with Stockpile and Oddball gametypes. The main feature of Condemned that Certain Affinity have put in is a low gravity centre, that has been exposed to space from the oncoming Covenant Cruiser’s onslaught. The map is on a circular structure, with high and low parts, and nooks and crannies that can be explored along with gravity lifts and a beautiful sky-box. There’s a great amount of weapons, if a little overpowered. A rocket launcher, a pair of Sniper Rifles, shotguns, an energy sword. It just seems a little too much. I’d say that was the worst part of Condemned. A great feature is a Sabre docked in the repair bay. Unfortunate timing, as the facility seems to have been deserted. It was just 2 days away from retirement…

Unearthed is the final part of the Defiant Map Pack. A firefight map, it takes place on an abandoned mining facility during the Covenant invasion of Reach. This map has the same feel as Lost Platoon, an original firefight map from Halo 3: ODST. This map is great, I would love for more firefight maps to be added in DLC. It makes for great custom games, especially when another Impact teammate of mine insists on playing Firefight Versus. This map should take centre stage when talking about the Defiant Map Pack. It plays great, has a brilliant looking sky-box and scenery and the Phantom dropships and Drop pods enter the play area seamlessly.

There are two ways that Unearthed can be played. Either you can play it defensively, get a DMR from spawn, stick to the high ground, pick the grunts off as they progress to you, just make sure you watch each other’s backs when playing cooperatively and use your motion tracker at all times. No doing an Emile and getting stabbed in the back by an Elite. The second way that you can play is by grabbing the Rocket ‘hog that’s in the garage grab a gunner and meet the Covenant head on. Grab a person in the triple kill seat with a shotgun and another person in a hijacked Ghost or Wraith and you’re set, especially until you encounter a Hunter or two. Those Hunters, even on Normal, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting team, on either play-style.

In one word the Defiant Map Pack is amazing. Well worth the price tag of 800 Microsoft Points. Certain Affinity and 343 Industries should be proud with what they have done with Bungie’s swansong to Halo. Definately deserving of a download in my eyes. I’ll see you on the battlefield.

Defiant Map Pack Preview

Tomorrow is the release date for the much-anticipated 2nd DLC for Halo Reach. The Defiant Map Pack consists of 3 maps, an objective oriented map, Highlands, a Firefight map, Unearthed and a Slayer oriented map, Condemned. These maps were made by Certain Affinity, in association with 343, no input from Bungie whatsoever. Rooster Teeth posted a look through the maps earlier on today which can be viewed below. I’ll be downloading these maps as soon as they become available and will hopefully be writing a review on them which will be posted on here. Check back here for the review tomorrow.
♥ rollo.

First Impressions on Pokémon Black

Back in 1996, Satoshi Tajiri, and Nintendo released two Game Boy games Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue (Pokémon Green in Japan). “Pocket Monsters” or Pokémon, as they were referred to in the United States and Europe, small creatures that you embarked upon a journey to capture all 150 of them. Along the way you battled other trainers of increasing difficulty, defeating Pokémon Gym leaders to the Indigo Plateau, where you went against the top 4 trainers in the land of Kanto, the Elite Four. Once you defeated the Elite Four, you were given a final battle against the Pokémon Champion, your rival and childhood friend.

Fast forward 15 years and 4 different handheld consoles to 2011. Where the success and popularity of Pokémon ceases to be swayed by the current economic climate. As of writing, Nintendo released that both the Pokemon Black and White Version’s combined sales reached 1 million in just one day in the US. Pokémon has gone through a lot over the last 15 years. 5 generations of Pokémon games: Red/Blue/Yellow, Gold/Silver/Crystal, Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, and now Black/White. Each generation of Pokémon expanded the Pokédex that the previous iteration used, from 151 to 251, to 386, to 493, and to the current 649 variations of Pokémon.

Now, down to main event. My first impressions on Pokémon Black Version. I recieved my copy in the post on Monday morning, along with the Game exclusive Reshiram and Zekrom printed Nintendo DSi, which I have to touch on, is the greatest handheld gaming device I have used to this day. The button placements feel right in your hand, the screen’s resolution is fantastic, and the internet ability you get on the DSi is brilliant, I would highly recommend if you don’t already to invest in a DSi or a 3DS when they’re released in your area. I’ll hopefully be in Birmingham on release day to check both the 3DS and the iPad 2 and do a write-up on them instore.

The graphics first of all are great. The overall look of the game is just stunning as it uses it’s 3D engine, something that Pokémon hasn’t done before. Normally in a city, as you wander around, the camera sticks on you, at a predetermined angle, and the buildings are set to that. But in Black and White, all the buildings have a front facing view, and a view for each side. The main reason for this is that when you walk into a building to enter it, the camera zooms a little in on you, and tilts so you see the door opening. This makes the game feel a a little more in-depth than previous titles, and more personal to you, as it shows that the game is following your story.

The battle engine has taken a major overhaul this time round, with fully animated battle sprites for Pokémon in battle. This gives Pokémon such as Manna, who floats, an animation that shows their legs moving underneath them, set off the ground. When attacking however the battle camera zooms in on the move slightly, following for example a tackle onto the receiver. When the move is finished, the game returns to it’s original camera, taking in both Pokémon on-screen. New inclusions for battling, that I’ve encountered so far are rotation battles, which are much more in-depth as you are able to switch Pokémon around in a 3v 3 situation where only the Pokemon on point can attack. Although to be honest I haven’t fully grasped the concept of rotation battles yet, as I’ve only experienced it once.

As you start off in Black, for the first time you have two rivals, Cherim and Bianca, who choose the other 2 starters that you didn’t, either Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott. Cherim however will always choose the Pokémon with the type advantage over you,  where as Bianca will be at a disadvantage. As always, I chose the Grass type starter, Snivy, which has followed the trend of mine, joining Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko and Turtwig in the exclusive club. Not to give any spoilers away into the main plot, the main villainous group this time around is Team Plasma, hellbent on freeing Pokémon from their trainers, for the greater good. So we have a Pokémon game with the main bad guys having a moral issue with the concept of the game, and trying to create an idealistic world with the use of Pokémon kept to a minimum. Nice mindf*ck there Game Freak.

The playability of Pokémon is better than ever in my opinion. I’ve really grown to accept this generation of creatures as true Pokémon due to there being no inclusion of the other 493 until after game completion, which is a nice touch giving these guys a chance to stand on their own away from the Pikachus and Marills which dominated the games up to Platinum. Online is a dream, and although I’ve barely tested it out, my first match was great to set up and play, and although the game is still limited by Friend Codes for a custom 1 v 1, it makes up for it with the awesome playability level that it has. I’ve had the game for a little over under 72 hours and I’ve managed to rack up around 15 hours on it, and I’m onto the 5th gym, with 50 Pokémon in my Pokédex, although the game is a little slow for the first 6/7 hours. So the length of the game may be definately over 150 hours to complete 100%, as an estimate.

Pokémon Black Version is without a doubt my absolute favourite Pokémon game, despite lacking in an Umbreon availability to start. It unquestionably the most in-depth title in the series and a must have game for the DS. If you have a DS and some time that you want to fill, I’d recommend this game in a heart beat.