Archive for February, 2008

Utah Saints Something Good ’08

I’m lucky enough to have seen Utah Saints play live and was both excited and worried to see their seminal classic “Something Good” return in 2008. I needn’t have worried and the video is an excellent match to their triumphant return:

Burnout Paradise Tips

Burnout Paradise boxartI’ve been working at getting all the street times nailed recently and found that you can make things much easier for yourself by following some simple rules. Some of these can also be applied to racing and the burning Routes although your mileage may vary:

  • Take it online! Find yourself repeatedly crashing during your run? Traffic is severly reduced with extra players on the map. Get yourself into an online game (the more the merrier) where people aren’t doing challenges or races. You’ll find the road a lot easier to navigate now.
  • Use Boost wisely. The temptation is to boost all the time but this can lead to a crash. Use boost when the road is clear, you’ll get a faster time by careful boosting than holding the button down and crashing. Lay off the boost when approaching taffic, corners and hills.
  • Use a fast stunt car. Speed cars may be faster but they are also twitchy and you can’t use boost as and when you need it. Stunt cars build a lot of boost from drifting, oncoming and jumps so you’re unlikely to run out on your run and if you do it doesn’t take much to get some back.
  • Don’t crash. Pretty obvious but remember, the clock still runs during the crash-cam scenes so more than 1 crash and you may as well restart. If you do crash before you make it half way down the road consider restarting, it’s likely you’ll crash again further up the road and won’t beat the time.
  • One way is faster than the other. A lot of roads have shortcuts and jumps you can take which make travelling in one direction along the road a lot faster than the other. If you’re having difficulty beating a road time try approaching it from the other direction, you might just find it a whole lot easier.

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Devil May Cry 4 loading screens, only 749 to go!

Devil May Cry 4 BoxartIt’s been noted that the PS3 version of Devil May Cry 4 has a mandatory 22-25 minute install before you can play. This has the effect of making the load times 2-3 seconds faster than the Xbox 360 version. Just to put this into perspective, you have to see up to 750 load screens on the PS3 to break even for that install. Now I don’t know about you but I’d be more willing to play it direct from the disc (just like the Xbox 360 version) but with an optional install to the hard drive, should I feel the need for sleep and faster load times in the morning.

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Tactics117, stupidest Halo 3 player ever?

Halo 3 logoI’ve just finished playing a ranked Big Team Battle on Halo 3 where I was team killed repeatedly by a player called Tactics117. After the match he sent me an abusive message indicating he’s racist, very confused about his sexuallity and he was very disapointed with my playing in that match. But why did this happen?

Up to the point where Tactics117 started team killing me I had amassed 0 kills. That’s right, nothing. Now this wasn’t because I’m rubbish at Halo as Tactics117 assumed but because I had spent almost the entire match driving other people around in a warthog. Whilst they were racking up the kills I was only getting medals for assisting. A quick look at the score boards medal section after the match would have redeemed me for my lack of kills but no, instead Tactics117 decided to throw a ranked match and start killing his own team because he thought I wasn’t playing well.

Here’s a lesson for all Halo 3 players, especially Tactics117, you don’t get many kills when driving the warthog around but you do help your team win. If you are unlucky enough to end up with this guy on your team, watch out, he’ll kill you whether you’re playing well or not based on something as misleading as your current kill count.

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Burnout Paradise? More like Burnout Hell

Burnout Paradise boxartI’ve been been giving the newly released Burnout paradise some serious attention over the last week and with any new game I really want to love it, but like BDSM, one man’s Paradise is anothers Hell….

Criterion Games have taken the Burnout World and turned it into a free roaming sandbox game but since this is a driving game don’t expect any GTA style escapades. This new style in itself isn’t too bad but some seriously bad design choices have been implemented:

No retstarts.
Criterion boasted that this wouldn’t matter as there will always be other events near by. But it does matter Criterion. When doing a Burning Route, having to drive for 5 mins to get back to the start just because you crashed once is not fun. When you are trying to do the last few activities in the game to complete your licence, driving back for 5 minutes back to the race you just failed is not fun. Even Rockstar realised that the GTA series needed a quick way to get back to a mission you failed and introduced taxi cabs as restarts. Games are meant to be fun remember Criterion?
1 crash and you’re out!
During many of the later Burning Routes and races, once single crash is all it takes to be left so far behind that there is no point in continuing. This is not fun Criterion. I’ll give it another shot when I fail but when you punish me needlessly I start thinking about trading your game in for something fun.
You’ve just crashed, lets see that in slow mo and waste 5 seconds!
Like the boring relative who comes round to show you 500 holiday photo’s, Criterion decided that since they had spent so much time on the crumple/crash physics (instead of making the game fun it would seem) that they would show you it at every opportunity. You wish for an option to turn this off after 30 minutes of first play and what makes it worse, you can actually lose races due to this ‘feature’.
I need a navigator!
Practically any race is 10% driving, 90% pausing to look at the map! Let us set waypoints so we know when a turn is coming up and plan our own routes. This is not a fun way to race! If you try to use the mini-map you will end up crashing into any number of cars and walls and don’t forget, more than 1 crash and you may as well forget the later races. Turns come up so fast that most of the time you will not see them until you’re way past them and the turn indicator is useless and distracting when planning your own route.
Don’t look at a curb!
The game seems so desperate to show me it’s crash engine that on several occasions it has crashed me when I was nowhere near a curb, wall or car. I sat there in disbelief as my car crumpled on the edge of a tiny railing that I wasn’t near and wouldn’t expect to damage my car in the first place.
What do you mean you want to see the road ahead?
In what can only be thought of as some kind of punishment, the default camera angle is far too low to the ground. This may mean you get a better feeling of speed but it also means that the road ahead is often a mystery until you end up face first into a wall, car or speck of dirt that causes you to crash. heaven forbid you think to activate your Burnout along the road of random death. You can raise the camera angle but only by holding up on the right analog stick, without some sellotape this is an impossible task when racing! The only other view available is a first person one and the less said about that the better.

Now Burnout Paradise is fun at times, but there’s just too much wrong with it at a basic level. This is the sort of game that appeals to car fanatics, Burnout Brand Slaves and submissives who love being punished. A patch is forthcoming by the sounds of it, lets hope Criterion address some of the major problems with this game and give us the Paradise that it so wants to be.

As for me, I’ll keep plodding along with it, for all the stress it causes and poor design there’s a fun game in there fighting to get out. Online can be a lot of fun and there’s a definite feeling of satisfaction when you beat a friends time on a road. This is probably Burnout’s saving grace but it relegates what should have been a first class game to a nice, but sometimes uncomfortable, second class.

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