Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dawn of War 3

Not Company of Heroes 2?!?! Come on THQ, I know Dawn of War makes you a lot of money, but you never would have gotten to there without Company of Heroes. Eurogamer got some time with THQ core games boss Danny Bilson and he spoke a good deal about Dawn of War 3, not Company of Heroes 2. It sounds good and all, but I'm massively disappointed that they aren't doing something entirely new or the sequel to Company of Heroes. It was rumored for a while that it was either going to be Company of Heroes 2 or Dawn of War 3 and this is the first confirmation I've seen.
There are a few details for Dawn of War 3 that they have divulged so far. They seem to be realizing that people like the persistent and strategic elements of the previous DoW"s quite a bit, so they are focusing more on that and trying to do something new at the same time. Bilson speaks of trying to make the game have less of a learning curve/easier for newcomers and also trying to greatly improve the online portion of the game. That's about all the information about the game so far and I hate to say I'm so disappointed, but I am. We will see how it looks later on in 2012 when they start fleshing the game out. The game is still being developed by Relic, thank god, so I'm sure it will be pretty good at the very least, but I still have hope for something new and ground breaking from them (like Company of Heroes was). To check out the whole article check out the link at the bottom.


Steam Summer Sale

IT has started! Are you prepared to lose money? I know I'm not. Day one is already here and I'm already out fifteen dollars, thanks to Dawn of War Retribution. Here are some of what they have to offer, for today.

The sale will be going up until July 10th and they are doing the whole wishlist lottery like last summer. If you have 10 items on your wishlist, then all you have to do is look at what games have "tickets" that do and earn them. Tickets are special achievement that you need to do in order to earn a ticket, when you earn a ticket you are entering into the grand prize drawing. Over the course of this sale 100 people will win the grand prize drawing and they win the top 10 games on their wishlist. This is a little easier to do then the one last summer, so don't get our hopes up and don't waste too much time on it. If there was anything you have been waiting to get, I am willing to bet it will be on sale sometime in the next week and a half, so keep your eyes peeled.

-Written by Sean Cargle

Uncharted 3 Beta Hands On

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is going to be a great game and this is why you should care:
  1. Fantastic multiplayer- If you enjoyed it in Uncharted 2 expect to enjoy the MP in Uncharted 3 even more. It has many new improvements and impressive level design.
  2. Excellent story telling for a video game
  3. Top notch voice acting
  4. Long single player, for an adventure game, with a very lengthy multiplayer slammed on to it
  5. Easy to use controls that are hard to master (good combo)
  6. Unique and fun gameplay that makes you feel like your playing a cinematic action packed adventure filled with witty dialogue, beautiful environments and fresh situations
  7. The Graphics. I mean, come on, have you seen a screenshot of this game? Even Uncharted 2 was absolutely gorgeous and Uncharted 3's graphics are a pleasure to see.
I could list more reasons, but it mainly comes down to if you like these types of games. In this decade the Uncharted series has been a stand out among a genre filled with mediocre games. If you liked Uncharted 2 or 1 at all I urge you strongly to try to the free multiplayer beta on the Ps3, that is if you have playstation plus (who doesn't right now?) or if you own Infamous 2. There are only two maps in the beta and 5 modes, but it shows the kind of excellence you kind expect from the full game.

Uncharted 3 E3 Singleplayer Trailer

I've played the multiplayer beta many hours and while I expected it to be old and familiar, it wasn't. The controls are very similar, some of the weapons, but most everything else felt different, even team death match. They added new qualities to team death match, and other modes, to make them more interesting and less stale. For instance, now the winning team has a quite a few possible negative modifiers. If your team is winning they have these modifiers to help the losing team gain an advantage. One of these modifiers is making your entire team visible to their team for 1 minute, or making one of your teammates a target that must be protected (or else they get multiple points for killing him/her). They sound a little like gimmicks, but they spice up the gameplay and makes the matches feel dynamic and satisfying. Sure there are still people running around corners shotgunning people in the face, but in what game isn't that a possibility.
In the beta they have also revamped the character load outs. They are an improvement upon the previous way of doing it and they add a new type of perk. The new perk type allows you to use medals, that you earn during a match by killing people or collecting treasure, to use the perk. They are usually things like instant rocket launcher (3 shots only), or quick sprint or no reloading for a short period of time. They aren't game changing, but there are quite a few of them and they apply to competitive and cooperative multiplayer.

The two maps in the beta, so far (one more to be added later on), are quite impressive. They both have a lot to find and are expansive large areas. The first, Chateau, is a crumbling mansion that has many gatling gun turrets, rope slides and different routes. It is a hard map to get your bearings on at first, but after a short while you can easily become familiar enough with a area to be able to defend yourself reasonably well. The second map, Airfield, is wonderful and technologically impressive. The first part of it starts out with a cargo plane taking off, one team starts in the plane, and a bunch of open bed trucks chasing after it, the other team starts on those. I've seen similar situations in games before, but rarely in multiplayer, rarely without lag and rarely balanced. It is a lot of fun to try to board the plane or be on the plane and constantly be looking out for people climbing in through the side doors or mounting a rear assault. Once the plane takes off everyone who is on it gets a medal and some money, money is used for upgrading your character, and then its show another scene of your team getting off a truck and moving into a cargo area of the airfield. This area is pretty large and, like Chateau, it is really well designed and has many routes and particulars. This is all one level by the way, it is seamless and carries over the time and score from the cargo plane part.
It is a little hard to say how good the singleplayer for Uncharted 3 will be, but I have very little doubt that the quality of singleplayer will be any less than the quality of multiplayer. If it is anything like Uncharted 2 then the singleplayer will be even greater than the multiplayer. Also, there are videos of singleplayer in the beta and while they are edited and what not they are still pretty exciting looking. If you liked, or loved, either of the Uncharted's then you must check out the beta. We will be doing more on this as it gets closer to release, but check out our multiplayer beta videos below; we have one of each level.

TDM Airstrip

TDM Chateau

Written by Sean Cargle

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

XBLA Summer Releases

So, the dates are out for the big XBLA games. Trenched already came out, hopefully you saw my review last week. For the rest of summer though, mainly in July and August, we have Bastion, Crimson Alliance , Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Fruit Ninja Kinect, From Dust and Toy Soldiers: Cold War. Let's go into all of these in detail.

Release Date: July 20th
Developer: Supergiant Games
Price Tag: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)

Here is our preview of Bastion from E3 back at the beginning of June. Also our E3 video. This game looks pretty damn excellent. It is a RPG of sorts, more of an adventure game, with a lot of style.

From Dust
Release Date: July 27th
Developer: Ubisoft
Price Tag: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)

We also have a preview of this from E3, and also a video. This is my favorite upcoming game of the XBLA titles, can't wait. It's a new take on the god game genre and on top of that there hasn't been any good god games in many many years.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Release Date: August 3rd
Developer: Shadow Planet Productions
Price Tag: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)

We got to see this interesting looking dark side-scrolling adventure game at E3, but we didn't have enough to preview it. Although, we do have a video from E3, so check that out. Looks like it could be a hit like other darkly themed XBLA games of the past.

Fruit Ninja Kinect
Release Date: August 10th
Developer: HalfBrick
Price Tag: 800 Microsoft Points ($10-12)
Alternative Website: Fruit Ninja Kinect

I do own Fruit Ninja for the iPhone and we did do a review of the iPhone version several months ago, but we know little of the Kinect version, nor did we see it at E3. We put two websites up for this one because their main website has little information about the Kinect version. It looks to be pretty identical to the big seller iPhone version, but of course using Kinect to do multiple players. Here is a video from IGN, from E3 2011.

Toy Soldiers: Cold War
Release Date: August 17th
Developer: Signal Studios
Price Tag: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)

We didn't do a preview of this game from E3 2011, but we did see it and take video of it. It looks very similar to the previous Toy Soldier, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but with many new improvements. I just hope they are actual improvements and significant differences, not just gimmicks.

Crimson Alliance
Release Date: September 7th
Developer: Certain Affinity
Price Tag: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)

When I get to this one on the list I become uncertain of whether From Dust was my favorite. Both of us at Violent Gamer got to try Crimson Alliance, Cooperative, and we really enjoyed it. It is a dungeon crawler similar to the old gauntlet games, but with a lot of really attractive offerings and design. Check out our E3 preview and E3 video. Wish this one wasn't the last to come out.

Many of these games look really promising and interesting. They are doing a deal for this bundle on Xbox Live. If you purchase all five of the games, excluding Crimson Alliance, you get Crimson Alliance for free. So you would have to spend 5600 Microsoft Points to save 1200 Microsoft Points. Me, I'll probably just ignore Fruit Ninja, since I don't have a kinect, and do them all individually. Check us out later on for reviews of these games.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Game of Thrones Season Finale Episode 10 "Fire and Blood"

I'm afraid to say that the first season of Game of Thrones has come to an end already. I wish we had two more episodes to fit in some more time with some of the characters, especially the ones who had a lot of their personality and insight cut out by the short time frame of the show. I'm glad to say that this was a great season and the second season is already renewed and it is in the works, so good job on watching fans, we did it. *Spoiler Alert* from here on.
We start off exactly where it left off, with a bloody sword. Unlike the slight vagueness of this moment in the book, since it is in Arya's perspective at this moment, they make it clear in the show that Ned is gone from this world. While in the book, Arya looks away and doesn't know for certain that he is dead, but it does massively hint that he is dead. I don't know about anyone else but I love the way they made the King's Guard armor. I had never imagined that I would be staring at the Hounds armor instead of paying attention to other happenings in a scene. Anyways, they executed the public hearing/execution very well and Maisie Williams, Arya, really made me believe her shock and disbelief at the entire situation. The episode did everything that I hoped it would do, it also did everything it should have done for Arya; sending her off on her road to the north with Roberts bastard son, the blacksmiths apprentice. I hope we get the proper time with Arya and everyone in that little caravan, there are some interesting and enjoyable parts with them in book 2, A Clash of Kings.

This episode handles a interesting dynamic with scenes of characters handling the news of Ned's death, but on the other spectrum they have scenes of the Lannisters hearing the news of Robb's victory and Jaime's capture. I love how they handled the scene with Catelyn walking out through the soldiers showing no weakness, only to find Robb in the woods wrecking his sword on a tree while crying tears of anger. Both of them embracing in sadness and anger and vowing to get revenge on all of the Lannisters. On the other hand, we get a scene showing how Cersei loves sleeping with relatives and a creepy young cousin of Jaime's, Roberts old serving boy/squire, bothering her with his creepy nakedness while she is reading the news about Jaime's capture.

The last episode showed the future of Jon, Tyrion and Daenerys. With Jon we see him react to the news of Ned's death. Once again he shows that he is unwilling to leave his family and despite Sam's pleading Jon still leaves in the night to join the war in the south. Fortunately for Jon his brothers of the Night Watch come after him and convince him to return by reminding him, in unison, of his vows. We then get to see what is to come in season 2 for the Nights Watch, war. Commander Mormont gives a speech to Jon about how their war in the north is so much more important than any war in the south or even who the king is. Their war is against the northern barbarians and the others, both of which are big mysteries to the audience. Their war is truly a war of the greatest importance, not the squabbling of lords and ladies.
Tyrion is still awesome and is getting a little respect from his father, Lord Tywin. Tyrion gets recognized for his earlier foresight of telling everyone to be wary of Robb. He also gets some appreciation for telling the council to keep Ned as a hostage. His reward for this? He is getting sent to King's Landing to be the new Hand, because as Lord Tywin says, "You are my son." Although, he is not to bring his whore, but Tyrion defys his father in that regard, all with a unmistakable remark about how his father "has always been a cunt." That is the last we see of Tyrion for now, but we can expect him making some changes in Kings Landing and showing the strength of his character against the court. Also, some interesting comparisons between Tyrion ruling as Hand and Ned's ruling as Hand.

Daenerys is a uncertain future, one that looks increasingly bleak as the episode roles along. We get to see what happened to Khal Drogo, who essentially has died and been turned into a vegetable. Along with that death there is also the death of Daenerys unborn son. All of her dreams have died by halfway through the last episode and it seems like she is going to sacrifice herself to the fire with Khal Drogo, after she mercifully ended his ruined existence. Her army is gone, most of her people are gone, her son is gone, her husband is gone, but she still has a few people, Jorah Mormont and some of the warriors, some of her maidens and her dragon eggs. We see that the healer woman, that was helping her and doing the dark magic at her request, was really doing everything on purpose and wanted to inflict pain and death upon the Khal and his people for sacking her town. Since we like Daenerys it is easy to see this woman as "the bad guy" and while she is certainly pretty vengeful and evil at this point we do get to hear her side of the story at the same time, presenting some conflicting feelings. The Khal destroyed her peaceful village and wrought destruction upon the land and this woman stopped further spread of that and also murdered the stallion that mounts the world, who was destined to destroy and conquer. As the pyre is built and going we see that Daenerys is burning her dragon eggs, the Khal and the living woman (the healer previously spoke of). Mormont expressively shows his feelings to Daenerys to try to prevent her from giving herself to the fire, from which we get a response from her that non-verbally says do not worry, dragons do not burn. As we see, Dragons do not burn, they only hatch and grow. Whats to come in season 2 with Daenerys? Dragons and glory.
There of course is a little bit with Robb and Sansa. Sansa we see faint at the execution and ever scene after that she looks ragged and as if she had just been crying. We finally see some defiance out of her as she tells Joffrey that maybe her brother will give her Joffreys head. Sansa and the Hounds relationship gets started with the Hound looking out for Sansa a little bit, but also trying to protect his annoying little king. Robb is off in the north doing his best to plot revenge on the Lannisters. He votes for joining up with Stannis, like his father had wanted, but the lords of the north declare him as King in the North, like it was before the Targaryens rule. One of my favorite scenes of the show, and episode, was after that scene; in which Catelyn goes to see Jaime. Jaime looks beaten and tired but he is still strong and vulgar towards Catelyn, but for the first time we see him break down a little when Catelyn gets some honesty and truth out of him. He almost seems ready to tell all, but there he still holds back. The future for Jaime Lannister doesn't look good, for him, but maybe we will get some insight into his character next season. Maybe he isn't just a arrogant asshole.

This was another great episode for a excellent season for a promising show. Next spring cannot come too soon. I hope the actors for the new characters, that will be introduced next season, will do a great job, just like all of the actors and actresses this season. Sure this show doesn't have long drawn out glorified action, but it does have a lot of behind the scenes action, intrigue, drama and politics. Everything is well executed with great acting and strong writing. They have dealt with the difficult task of turning a book into a 10 episode season and they have succeeded. Let's hope they will get 12 episodes in season 2, just so we can have more time with characters and be a little closer to the intimacy of the books.

Violent Score's (out of 10)
Episode Score: 9

Season Score: 9.5

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trenched Review

Mix some tower defense with some player controlled mechs, loot, big bosses and a whole lot of customization and you will have Trenched. This is one of the better titles to come out for XBLA, especially as a XBLA exclusive, in a long time. The developers at Double Fine did a great job, especially for a genre that they haven't tried before. If you have played other Double Fine games then you will recognize the often entertaining sense of humour and also the vibrant art style that all of their games seem to express. If you don't know Double Fine they made previous games like Costume Quest, Psychonauts, Brutal Legends, Stacking and more. They never quite hit the excellence mark but their games almost always seem to do pretty well. Unlike many of their older games Trenched actually has a good deal of replayability.

Theatres of War
There are three theatres of war in this game, each of which has 5 levels. Every fifth level being a boss level in which you no longer have to defend but attack instead. You start off in Europe, move to Africa and then the last one is in the Pacific. Of course, they get harder and harder throughout. Each boss ramps up the difficulty and each theatre of war has it's own challenges and complications to deal with. For instance, the first theatre has a lot of flying units to fight; the second has a lot of sniper units and the third has pretty much everything mixed together into a giant ball of fun. I am happy to say that the three theatres of war feel distinct and offer significantly different areas and situations. You can rush through them but they generally take 2-3 hours to go through one, so in total about 6-8, but that doesn't mean that's all there is to do; more on that later.

The game plays out in waves, like most tower defense games, and each wave will give you a indication of where the enemy is approaching from and also what type of *tube* they are. It gets tricky though because enemies will come at various times in a wave. They sometimes come in little groups at different times throughout the one wave, which usually gives you a moment to breath. One way in which they up the difficulty is giving you more than one objective to defend. In specific, before the Pacific Theatre there was only one level that had you defend more than one objective, but the very first level of the Pacific Theatre had you defending four spots. There is also a tactical map that you get to see before the battle starts that shows the generalities of the map and where the enemies will be coming from. There are scraps which you use to build turrets during missions, and upgrade them. You get scraps by destroying enemies and you have to manually collect them. Thankfully there is a turret that you can place to collect scraps in a area and there is also a button (right button) the pulls in all the scraps close to your mech.
European Level
In this game you have levels, but no attributes to level up. Leveling up is solely for the purpose of using better equipment and unlocking new equipment and clothes to buy in the store. You get experience based on the number of enemies you kill and also how well you do on a level. The enemies are called tubes and they are all mechanical enemies that all seem to resemble some kind of animal, fictional or real. The story is pretty silly, but enjoyable, and it is pretty much the marines, the mobile trench brigade, against a crazy scientist who is creating all the tubes in order to broadcast to the world. Each side consists of a great mind leading it, both of whom got their powers from a mysterious broadcast sometime during the war ,presumably world war 1.

Mech Customization- You can choose to play this game as a tower defense game or a action game. Your mech's have a lot of different customization options. You can choose to take a big heavy chasis with a lot of room for firepower and a good deal of defense, but then you will have very few turret options. If you go the other route you will only have one or two slots for weapons, out of six slots, but in return you will have four turret slots. You will always have some turrets no matter what kind of chasis, but it all balances out. Some levels will recommend using specific types and while it usually seems to be a good idea to follow their recommendation you can still try and succeed with different types of setups. You receive different weapons, chasis, legs (which have various abilities, like sprinting) and turrets from loot boxes. Loot boxes drop from enemies randomly, but big enemies will almost always drop one. You also receive loot based on the rank you get on a level: bronze, silver or gold. You may also receive loot from personal and squad challenges. They track certain things like numbers of kills with grenade launchers and will give you items or money every time you go up a level in a skill/challenge.
It does look this good
Dieing in the game isn't a big deal, especially since you don't really die. Your mech can break down when you lose all your health and then you have to hit a random button quickly in order to recover in back to half health, but while you are doing that the enemies will probably be destroying the objective you are supposed to be defending. There is also a type of turret/emplacement that heals you, but you have to equip it in place of another type of support turret. There are three different classifications of turrets: support, firepower and explosive. Firepower consists of most of the basic ones: machine gun, shotgun and flak turrets. While support consists of: repair, dampening (slow down), collection and others. Lastly, explosive consists of: mortar, mines, sniper and others.

Multiplayer works really well in this game, especially for a small XBLA game. It is entirely cooperative, no player versus player. Throughout the game you have a navy ship, which acts as a barracks or lobby. Between each level you return to the ship and you have a character, which has cosmetic customization's, that you use to walk around the ship with. You can interact with the radio (multiplayer), the missions board and your mech ,which has the shop and character customization as well. You go to the radio and you can tell it to find players for you or you can choose specific people. It does a good job of matchmaking and usually with a couple minutes you will have 2 or 3 more mechs, and players, situated around the ship. You can interact with other peoples mechs and see their load outs. Anyone can interact with the mission selection but only the leader may choose to start the game.
When you get into a game you all may place turrets like normal. There is friendly fire, but it doesn't do the normal amount of damage and a character will yet out if you are hitting them. Scrap collecting seems to share all of them equally, no matter who grabbed them. Loot also works the same, every player get its. The difficulty is scaled to the number of players and the only levels I've seen that it doesn't scale really well are the boss levels. The bosses do scale (more smaller minions) but it is pretty easy for 2 or more players to handle. Overall though the scaling for multiplayer keeps levels challenging and fun, while making micromanaging less stressful on some of the really tricky levels. There is also the multiplayer challenges/brigade challenges. Once you have played with someone, or multiple people, it places you all into a brigade and there are challenges that you all contribute to, even solo. It is not clear if brigades stay indefinitely or if there is a player limit, my brigade is at six players at the moment, but it seems to work fairly well. I would say it is a little too easy to complete these challenges, due to the number of players and it counting whether a player is playing solo or coop, but the challenges are very large in scale and even the level one challenges take a long time to complete.
Lasting Appeal
Unfortunately I must concede with many other reviews that the replayability is not the strongest aspect of this game. Like I previously stated, you may go back to missions and get higher medals and scores and more loot, but it doesn't seem to matter that much. When you get nailed on a level and receive a low score you normally would get better equipment and come back later, but by then the loot that you might get from that level is pretty much useless other than to sell. Selling the extra loot is useful though, thank god. Almost all the higher levels of turrets must be purchased from the shop and they can cost a lot of money. Weapons on the other hand, you usually find in the field and don't often need to purchase. You also may purchase different outfits for your character. It is really fun to come back and ace a level that used to be really difficult, but there doesn't seem to be a lot more beyond that.

This game is very fun to play and there is a lot to do, but players are going to have to rely on DLC (downloadable content) to keep the game fresh and interesting. I wish they had added a new game + mode, a mode that increases the difficulty and starts you over but you get to keep some equipment or something, but they did not. Despite the lack of length to it, 10-15 hours at most, this is really unique and interesting take on a tower defense game. Rarely do you get this kind of quality from a XBLA game. For every dollar you spend you get quality gameplay in return. It currently costs 1200 Microsoft points on XBLA, about 15 bucks, and it will last you somewhere around that in hours so that is pretty good deal. If you are a fan of tower defense games with a lot of customization and strategy to them, check this out. Here is a seven minute video that I took of a good chunk of one of the earlier levels of this game. Sound is decent at best, sorry. This looks to be a great summer for XBLA and Trenched has started it off well.

Violent Score: 8.5

Written by Sean Cargle

Monday, June 20, 2011

Project Zomboid Alpha Tech Demo

A public demo for Project Zomboid was released today, here it is Demo. Like the title says, the game is still in Alpha but I've played the demo for hours today and it is a lot of fun. I mean come on, you can smother your wife with a pillow instead of helping her with her injured leg, OR you can also burn down your house by leaving the oven on when your cooking your precious soup. The poor Indie Stone guys or gals have been having plenty of hard times with this game, due to google messing with them and now they just got their game stolen , apparently by 4chan, and it's on torrents. Are people really going to steal a small indie game that has one or two developers? That's pretty inexcusable. Like Minecraft, if you pre-order the game you get to play the alpha and never have to buy the game, even when it gets to retail and is increased in price. I digress. You may be asking what is Project Zomboid, so lets get some basics down.

Basic Info
Developer: The Indie Stone
Game Type: Zombie Survival with some RPG Elements
Unique Features: Barricading, open world, food system, sleep deprivation, morale/panic, crafting, skills, zombie perception system, inventory management, npcs and more.
Release Date: N/A
Platform: PC

I have taken a video of a chunk of my gameplay from this demo for your viewing pleasure. Note that the game runs at twice this speed normally, for some reason it can not handle fraps taking vidoes well.

Lets go through some of the features in the demo. There is barricading, which you do at the very beginning of the game. If you find wood, nails and a hammer, with the hammer equipped, you may barricade windows and doors, which can also be removed easily by using the hammer on the barricade. Barricading is pretty essential to surviving. If zombies figure out you are somewhere they will come in fairly large groups to break down the doors. The doors take five or six times longer to break if barricaded. It is easy and essential, but wood is hard to find in the demo. You can chop down trees and doors, with a axe, but it makes a lot of noise and isn't worth the attention of the multitude of zombies that will show up.

It is a open world game. You start the game in a house with your injured wife and you have some guidelines of what you should be doing, but you can immediately bolt off and leave your wife. In the demo it is only a small town that you may explore, but he is The Indie Stone is planning to make it a huge world in which you start off in a small town and you may travel towards and a city and ultimately to the ocean. The small amount of story in the demo is surprisingly effective. From what I can tell most people care a lot about trying to save the wife and there is also a bit of information delivered from the radio. In this world only a city or county is infected, seemingly, not the rest of the country but according to the radio the army is not invading and the president doesn't seem to be doing much about it.

The inventory system feels similar to a survival rpg, in which you have weight cap and you can easily bog yourself down in items. Unfortunately the inventory system is a little annoying to use since it often closes itself when you open cabinets or what not. It is also a bit of a pain because grabbing items isn't horribly fluid, nor is there a way to sort anything. Food, on the other hand, works pretty well. You get hungry after a decent amount of time, there is a clock ingame, and you get negatives to stats until you eat and if you eat well you get bonuses to stats, like improved accuracy or healing. There are a lot of items to find, even in the demo, and I assume a bunch of them can be combined to make more interesting items. For instance, I've found clothes, belts, hand cloths, batteries (for flash lights), shotguns, fire axes, hammers, baseball bats, various types of food, pencils and pens, nails, shogtun shells and just all kinds of stuff.
Similar to the food system there is also a panic and injury system. In the same area that the food indicator pops up so will injuries and the panic indicators. Panic is pretty simple, yet probably hard to create. If you open a door and a zombie surprises you then you will probably be a little panicked. If you open a door to the street and there are 20 zombies pouring in then you will probably be really panicked and in that case you lose all kinds of stats. You can get rid of panic by drinking alcohol or just getting away from the zombies, or killing them. The injury system pretty well done and awesome. So, if a zombie hits you then you have to open up your body chart and see where you are hurt and address the problem. You have a little chart, similar to the old X-Com games, that show which body part is injured and what needs to be done about it. The awesome thing is that if you get seriously injured then you really need to act quick to stop the bleeding and heal yourself or you can easily die standing there examining your wounds. To help with that though there is a pause button to give you a moment to breath, there is also a speed up button. Similar to these other systems there is also sleep deprivation. At a certain point a indicator, in the same spot as the others, will pop up and say you are tired and you should sleep (something like that). If you ignore that it will eventually bog down your perception and stats.

There isn't a lot to do with crafting in the demo, that I've found or heard of, but it has the potential to do some fantastic stuff, especially since you can combine up to five items. The main purpose of crafting in the demo is to make soup and make barricades, also putting batteries into flashlights. There are three npc's in the demo; two of which try to kill you. The Indie Stone is planning to a lot with npcs and storylines and it looks pretty promising, but even in the demo people/npcs are far more dangerous than the zombies. In the paid alpha version, coming out in a few days, there are going to be random npcs.

Last Comments
I mentioned skills in the unique features of this game but I did not talk about them, that is because they aren't in the demo, but they will be in the paid version that comes out in a few days. There will also be professions and traits, among other various improvements and new items. The hit detection in this game isn't very spot on in the demo, but that is the worst thing I have to say about it. The demo is really fun and surprisingly fresh feeling for a zombie game. I can't wait to see more of this game and to see the massive list of things they hope to do get done. I strongly urge anyone to try out the demo, I doubt it will be a waste of a hour or two of your time. Also, check out this video of some of the fantastic things you can do in this game/demo. If you end up trying definitely look over the new players guide.

Written by Sean Cargle

Red Orchestra, Welcome Back

Red Orchestra was a WWII multiplayer game for Steam that came out many many years ago. Many enjoyed it for it's large maps, vehicles and bleak and realistic infantry combat. It is hard to say it was "realistic" but it came closer than the large majority of WWII games, even to this day. They have been developing Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad for quite some time, the same developers as RO 1, and it looks to be a great successor to Red Orchestra 1. I bring this up because it is coming out soon, but when exactly? I'm not sure..some people say the end of June, others say August and others say July, but at the very least that means it is sometime this summer.

Heroes of Stalingrad boasts many new features, one of which is greatly improved graphics and I can say with certainty that it does look fantastic. Check out these comparison shots.

Red Orchestra Ostfront 41-45 (RO 1)