Bethesda Game Studios has just released a new chapter in its long running series called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim! This enormous open world/RPG takes place in a visually impressive fictional world, where every new direction or environment entered, has a surprise waiting. No matter if your playing the game for a few hours or a few days, there will still be a quest, item and/or character to uncover, that will lead you to totally new territories and leave you with completely different results.
The many different scenic environments in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, consist of rocky mountains, forests, vast fields and decaying tunnels. The attention to detail breaths life into every environment, while breathtaking visuals compliment each scene, leaving you with the feeling of actually being part of that world. Freedom is a big part of the game, weather it involves the enormity of the world or the way that you choose to live in it. You have option’s which consist of, buying a house and living the simple life, live like a criminal and attack everyone you encounter, follow suggested quests or just wander the world aimlessly. The game leaves these decisions all up to you, guaranteeing that no two players will experience the story exactly the same way.
The gameplay has several steps to follow, which lets you decide exactly how you want to advance in the game. At the beginning, all you get to choose is a race (your player character.) From there you get to try out different skills before you chose the one you want to specialize in. Leveling happens through skill use, meaning the more skills that you use, the more those skill levels will increase. Once enough of these skill categories are leveled, your overall character level increases. This enables you to make decisions at your own pace and at the right time.
Perk points are something else achieved when leveling, which enables you to spend them to learn new skills or save them until your sure how you want to use them. The more perks that you use, the better your overall combat will be. The spell system has been improved, enabling you to cast a different spell from each hand. Another upgrade that can not be left out are Dragon Shouts. Dragon Shouts gives you the ability to breath fire, slow time, blast force waves, shout ice and call in dragons. By searching environments for word walls, you can learn more shouts adding to your abilities. Before you can activate any shouts, you need to fight a dragon and take its soul. Dragons are all over Skyrim, making it fairly easy to find and fight a dragon.
A Review Of The Video Game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, convinced us that it is a visually impressive game with huge scenic open world environments to explore. The ability to choose and customize your character, brings excitement and strategy to the game. How you customize your character will decide the path that the story will take. The game has plenty to do and will keep you entertained and coming back for more. We enjoyed playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and recommend it highly to all gamers. This game can easily be one of the best RPG’s that we have ever played! Enjoy!
We are living in a world which is exposed to constant terror. A few days ago an individual was arrested at JFK Airport. The flight he disembarked from was AL-LIE 2006 from the Far-Far East. When checked at the custom counter, the immigration officials noticed the unusual excitement of one of the travellers. After a painstaking search, the suspicion was confirmed. The individual, who pretended to be a university basic-sciences lecturer, was in possession of suspicious and dangerous items. The customs official reported that he was in possession of an eraser, a ruler, a protractor, vernier callipers, a bottle of milk and a peculiar, coded book of non Anglo-Saxon origin on units and algorithms: “The 2006 Edition – SI Units, Conversion and Measurement Skills”. The keywords: “conversion of units”, “experimental science”, “si measurement”, “English to metric”, “fun tests”, “uncertainty”, “power-of-ten”, and “the da Vinci code” sounded also very suspicious…
Obviously, the man contravened the recently imposed flight regulations. Immediately he was whisked off to an undisclosed Central European interrogation camp.
Thanks to recently approved interrogation methods, the officers quickly learned that the man was a member of the infamous Al-Gebra movement. He was charged with carrying weapons of math instructions. It was found that Al-Gebra is a section of a fearsome, extremist scientific cult whose aim is to constantly increase knowledge of numbers with the sole intention of conquering the world. They use secret names like “X” and “Y” and refer to themselves as “Unknowns”. What menaces the world is that in different countries, “Unknowns” change the names of their units to: fps, imperial, cgs, mks, KGB, si, ichi-foot, metric, tuzin-kopa and other strange denominations which make them difficult to follow. However, it has been determined that they belong to a common denominator of illuminati with coordinates in every country on the earth from time immemorial…
Commenting on the event, President Bush assured the American public that no foreign units (even French) would be allowed to enter the USA. The citizens were warned not to make any contact with them. The result of immediate poll showed that 90% of population reacted positively to the appeal.
In his defence, the individual mumbled that he had been framed by his own daughter who had planted a bottle of milk in his luggage as an expression of her love. He admitted that he had flown in from the Far-Far East in order to assist American science teachers. He confessed that in spite of the recent Nobel prizes, he was very concerned about the quality of USA science textbooks. He was also concerned that, according to “Trumpet” magazine, the percentage of American students planning to pursue engineering degrees had dropped from 36% to 6% over the last decade. The final straw that prompted him to board the plane was a statement from his beloved Oprah, who mentioned on prime time TV that high school students in the USA had come 24th in international mathematics tests. He denied that the book he was carrying was a set of instructions but rather a unique book on experimental science. He stated that the book was of a stimulating and entertaining nature and just what American students needed. He maintained that Amazon had already been selling the book for some time at an exorbitant price, far beyond the reach of the average American student and without the author’s permission.
(This bizarre message was passed to IIPCAG for investigaton). His intention was to find an honest American publisher and to sell the book for the price ten times lower. Then he started a strange chant: “u – u-k and u – u-s-a, don’t – de – lay, metri – cate!”
The officers came to the conclusion that although the terrorist had been deprived of a lawyer and a doctor, he should rather be admitted for psychiatric observation…
To start burning Xbox 360 games your going to need 3 things. A DVD burner, high quality DVD-R disks and the proper software. In this article I’m going to review for you an inexpensive setup that will still produce good quality backups. I’ll show you how you can start making backups for the about the cost of just 1 game!
1.) DVD Burner- LG Electronics GH22NS50 22X SATA Super Multi DVD+/-RW Internal Drive – Bulk with Software (Black) $23.99. This is a great entry level drive, it has all the needed components for burning Xbox 360 games including dual layer encoding and SATA connections. All the features you need built by a reputable company at a great price.
2.) DVD-R Disks Verbatim 95058 4.7 GB 16x 120 Minute Single-Sided DVD-R, 25-Disc Spindle $11.90. Verbatim DVD-R disks are some of the best discs that money can buy. When your burning Xbox 360 games you don’t want to skimp on the disc or you might end up with skipping or disc errors. Using the Verbatim disks skips and errors will not be a worry.
3.) Software Easy Backup Wizard – The easiest and simplest method to Copy and Backup your Video Games! $29.00. This is simply the easiest program to use for burning Xbox 360 games (or any other game or DVD for that matter). This program is the best value for create backups of your games, and can save you a bundle compared to the price of ripping, encoding, burning and encrypting software. Instead you get all of the features in 1 piece of software.
This article is intended for use only to backup games that you own. Copying or downloading games that you did not legally purchase is a violation of not only your local laws, but also international copyright law.
Publisher(s): Atari, Namco Bandai Games, Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360
Release Date: April 17, 2012
While president Obama was touring Europe, he received a rather unique gift after meeting the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. You see, the Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski is somewhat of a literary rockstar overseas, and The Witcher Novels are jewels of Poland’s fantasy lore. So what better way to greet the president of the United States than with a gift of the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Special Edition video game? This gesture alone should tell you something about the title right away: it’s respected, damn well received, and mature enough to be taken seriously by a Prime Minister. Let’s put a lot of emphasis on the mature part, because this is one of the most adult RPGs you’ll ever play. It’s not just the nudity and sex that earns The Witcher 2 an M rating; it’s the complex storyline that touches on racism, political machinations, and genocide; it’s the game’s reliance on players’ intelligence that makes it exceptionally “grown-up.” The Witcher 2 gives you a lot to work with, but it also asks you to become heavily invested in its history and traditions in order to get the most out of it.
– A truly adult RPG experience
– Breathtaking environments
– Spectacular voice acting and dialogue
– Strategic approach to combat
– Very Challenging
– The controls feel oftentimes clumsy and unresponsive
– Extremely overwhelming at first (might turn off casual gamers)
– Quest tracking is a complete mess
– Stealth portions of the game are awful
– The Map is useless
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a 2012 console port of a 2011 PC game. To be fair to console gamers, I won’t compare the Xbox 360 version to the PC counterpart too much, nor will I go into details about the first Witcher game. Since this is the only Witcher game on consoles, I’ll try to review it as a standalone title, so newcomers to the series know what to expect.
You play as Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining Witchers. Witchers are genetically enhanced humans that have been trained to fight monsters since childhood, and they possess special powers like alchemy and magic. It’s not necessary to have played the original Witcher title since everything you need to know about the universe is explained throughout the adventure. However, those unfamiliar with the franchise might feel slightly lost and overwhelmed during the prologue. You begin the game in kingdom Temeria’s prison interrogation room. Vernon Roche, commander of a Special Forces group called the Blue Stripes, questions Geralt in regards to the assassination of the king of Temeria, King Foltest. Geralt recounts the events leading up to the assassination and we find out that another Witcher, who’s disguised as a blind monk, is responsible for the murder. Up until the last moments of the assassination, both Vernon and Triss Merigold (a sorceress and the Witcher’s “companion”) accompany Geralt and King Foltest during battle. When Geralt is found over the king’s dead body after taking him to see his children, he’s mistaken for the killer and thrown into jail by Temerian forces. The prologue goes back and forth between the interrogation and the battle, and you’re pretty much thrown straight into the battlefield surrounded by dozens of enemy soldiers. I should also mention that Geralt suffers from amnesia, which is a nice narrative mechanic that ties the original Witcher to the sequel and introduces Geralt’s past to newcomers of the franchise. Eventually, Geralt convinces Vernon that he will hunt down the king slayer and our adventure begins.
Before the prologue, you spend a few minutes in an arena environment where you’re briefly introduced to the game’s controls. Unfortunately, the game throws everything at you right away, giving you little time to become comfortable with the button layout before you’re asked to slay your first horde of enemies. If the general mechanics followed your typical control scheme, it wouldn’t be an issue, but the gameplay in The Witcher 2 takes a long time to get used to – it literally feels like the developers tried to cram the entire keyboard into the limited Xbox 360 controller.
Of course things get significantly better once you spend enough time on the battlefield, but moving around with Geralt never feels precise. When you’re opening doors and chests, or even climbing certain areas, Geralt has to line up with the object accordingly before you’re prompted to press “A”. Oftentimes, you feel like you are re-aligning yourself awkwardly just to walk through a door. What’s worse is the buttons don’t respond consistently. In many instances, I found myself walking up to a door, pressing “A”, repositioning myself, pressing “A” again, then waiting a full second for Geralt to perform the action. It’s even more frustrating when you need to draw your sword. You press left on the D-pad for the long sword and right for Geralt’s silver sword. The Xbox 360 D-pad is notorious for input lag and it’s exasperating in The Witcher 2. Another major problem is Geralt’s default walking speed. When you push the analog stick lightly, Geralt walks very slowly. Nudge it just a bit forward and he’ll start running. Considering that Geralt has to disarm traps when he’s out and about, it’s very toilsome to move with caution. It’s a shame that the simple act of navigating the world takes you out of the immersion.
Luckily, the sword fighting feels barbarous and fast. The sword mechanics handle quite nicely once you figure out how to single out foes, target them properly, and use your block/roll to dodge incoming attacks. The “X” button is used for strong attacks and the “A” button for quick strikes. Learning which attacks are necessary for the various enemy types is key to survival – it’s just too bad that the targeting is so loose. You can assign “signs” (magic spells) to the “Y” button and even throw bombs, throwing-knives, and set traps with a click of the right shoulder button. Combat calls for a lot of strategy in later stages since each enemy requires different offensive maneuvers.
The Witcher 2 tries to be very realistic in that it forces you to prepare for battles. Rather then relying on health potions during fights, Geralt has to ready himself with sword enhancing oils, vigor enhancing potions and other elixirs before venturing out. This seems odd at first, since you might walk into an ambush with only a fraction of your health, but once you wise up on the dangers of your surroundings, it adds a whole new layer of strategy to combat. You get a greater sense of danger when walking into a forest and you need to constantly ready yourself for unexpected encounters. This kind of tension is truly unique and it makes you feel like you’re learning to adapt to your environment, the longer you play.
As you accumulate experience points, you upgrade your skill tree, which consists of five categories: Training Tree, Magic Tree, Alchemy Tree, and Swordsmanship Tree – each consisting of fifteen talents. The various talent upgrades have a significant impact on character development and playing style. I mainly focused on the Swordsmanship talents since the parrying and dodge maneuvers come in handy during heated battles. In order to upgrade your skills, drink and create potions, and even rest, you have to go into a meditative state. The tricky part is that you can only meditate when no enemies are around. Meditation allows you to craft necessary potions for battle and it’s important to regularly refill your inventory. It’s certainly strange at first, but I have to applaud the developers for trying something original.
Pressing the left analog stick also activates Geralt’s medallion. The medallion does a quick scan of the environment, revealing traps, hidden treasures and even upcoming enemies. It’s similar to the scanning function found in Prototype 2 or Infamous. Then there are the occasional stealth segments, which are the worst gameplay elements in the entire game. They are clumsy and feel completely out of place. It’s a good thing they only occur occasionally.
The voice acting, music and overall presentation is exceptional. The characters feel convincingly real and every location radiates with history. All of the performances are extraordinary and I felt invested in every conversation. Every character has something interesting to say and the game’s expansive lore is deeply immersive.
The game has a unique quest structure that insists on your commitment to read journal entries and memorize names. Certain quests will ask you to defeat some creatures in nearby forests – but before you can do that, you need to talk to the townsfolk and learn about the monsters before you can slay them. It requires some legwork since nothing is marked on your map and you need to pay close attention to what the villagers are saying. This might frustrate gamers that are used to simply following quest markers on the map, but it ads an incomparable sense or realism to your missions. Of course, other quests fit into your typical template of following the marked waypoint, but that’s when the game goes completely kaput. In my playthrough, the quest markers were wrong eighty percent of the time, especially in chapter 2. I spent three hours on a particular quest because the marker kept repositioning itself all over the map. This is unacceptable and affects the overall enjoyment of the game. But to the game’s credit, when things work, they work beautifully. You feel like every decision impacts the story drastically and things are never simply black and white. Certain decisions will alter the progression of an entire chapter and this ads an immense level of replayability to the game.
The Witcher 2 looks fantastic! The environments are stunning and the game boasts some of the most detailed forests I’ve ever seen. The developers recommend installing the game to Xbox’s HDD and I can see why. Meshes are significantly better and the textures load much faster. Character models look great, although lip-syncing is somewhat robotic and unnatural. The animations in combat are extremely fluid, but they seem to lack the same finesse during cut-scenes. Texture pop-in still occurs even after the install, and while it’s not a game breaker, it’s clearly noticeable. It’s not so much the graphics engine that’s impressive; it’s the awe-inspiring art style. The villages and towns are meticulously designed and there’s an incredible amount of environmental variety throughout the game. Venturing out during nighttime feels legitimately scary and watching the sunrise paints the entire screen in vibrant colors.
The Witcher 2 is not for everyone. Geralt can sleep with whores around every corner and the game shows quite a bit of the “action.” Racism plays a huge role in the game’s story and if you’re not paying attention, you might get lost in the game’s politics. But it’s all these things that make the game truly unique. The Witcher 2 treats you like an adult and refuses to hold your hand. The game has several different endings and certain decisions will affect large portions of your playthrough, so you have plenty reasons to go back. In the gameplay department, The Witcher 2 shines conceptually, but fails to deliver in the most fundamental areas, such as opening doors and moving around. While the combat has some solid sword mechanics and nice touches of strategic planning, it ultimately feels imprecise and wonky, making it the game’s weakest area. Regardless of the shortcomings, this is a game that must be experienced by any serious RPG fan. There aren’t many games like it and I surely hope to see more of Geralt’s dark Witcher universe.
FINAL SCORE -“A Must for RPG Fans” -(8.5)
Stunningly detailed environments with occasional pop in, even after the install. (8.5)
Opening doors and interacting with objects is a pain, but the sword fighting is fast, brutal and fun. (7.5)
A dark storyline that makes you feel deeply immersed and gives you plenty of choices to shape the narrative. (9.0)
Some of the best voice acting and dialogue around. (9.0)
The Video games market is currently expanding into many different segments thanks to the Nintendo Wii, no longer is gaming targeted towards the 13-40 Male consumer. There is the 60+ elderly market who love to get active by playing Wii bowling or the 30-50 range that are losing weight by using Nintendo Peripheral’s such as Wii fit. Both Sony and Microsoft must applaud Nintendo for expanding a previously narrow market.
With Nintendo monopolising these market segments Microsoft and Sony have been quick to react. Microsoft is introducing a camera that can track your body movements without the need to hold anything in your hand whilst Sony are going down a similar path to Nintendo by offering motion controllers. So what’s the deal with ‘Kinect’? Who is it targeted at? And how on earth will they provide competition to the extremely popular Nintendo Wii? This article will aim to answer these questions.
There is no doubt that Microsoft are after the casual market. This newly developed market has massive potential and is worth millions to Microsoft. Microsoft revealed the Kinect brand at E3 this year and for the first time ever it was broadcast in Times Square for everyone to see. Furthermore, they commissioned a show by the exquisite Cirque du Soleil to show of Kinect which was also broadcasted on MTV. These communication channels are not commonly used in the video game industry to show of new hardware. By broadcasting their E3 press conference live via time square it indicates that they want Kinect to entice the casual gamer into the Xbox experience.
However, is this right group to target? The marketing manager of Xbox recently said “I think we know that hardcore gamers will be the first to go out and buy it, as they are with any product”. This statement underlines their intentions to push Kinect onto the hardcore gamer but the thing is none of the software for Kinect will appeal to them. Casual games such as Kinect sports or Kinectimals will never a system seller for the hardcore gamer. In fact until Microsoft release a Kinect game that the hardcore can get excited about then the chances are they will hold of the purchase. Microsoft built its brand on offering a hardcore experience and it might be unwise to neglect them.
The pricing of Kinect has become a hot talking point in recent weeks. Although not confirmed it has been widely regarded that the price of Kinect will be around $150. Compared to the Nintendo Wii ($180) the value of Kinect could seem very poor. Why would the consumer who currently own a Nintendo Wii depart with a significant amount of money to purchase a peripheral that is essential a very similar product? Microsoft needs to create a value proposition that warrants the $150 price tag and controller free gaming could be the answer. The unique selling point of Kinect is the fact that they offer a way of interacting with a game without the need to hold anything in your hands, this is something Nintendo Wii and PlayStation move don’t offer. Microsoft must therefore highlight this advantage when advertising this piece of hardware.
In fact by looking at Microsoft’s marketing strategy you could see why they are charging $150. They have to penetrate the market and get the casual market to take notice of this new product. Microsoft have already spent a huge amount on marketing Kinect through the Cirque du Soleil show and by displaying Kinect in various Macy stores. Make no doubt about it they paid through the nose to do so. Marketing of Kinect is set to increase as they creep towards the release date and therefore costs will increase. Microsoft will aim to recuperate this cost and therefore will set the price as high as $150 however it is doubtful that they will make a profit on every unit sold as according to ‘Develop’ it is costing Microsoft $150 to manufacture the Kinect camera.
The casual market is here to stay and its going to grow and grow. Microsoft are entering a market in which they are determined to gain significant market share, they are in this for the long term. Kinect is just the beginning for Microsoft. It is expected to be bundled with the Xbox slim when it launches in order for Microsoft to get Kinect into homes across the world. Microsoft will initially want to focus on market share rather than profit so expect Kinect’s price to decrease and decrease quickly. Kinect or maybe an upgraded version will be bundled into the next generation of Xbox console because this will force the consumer to use it.
Consumers are more likely to see the value of Kinect and therefore use it if it becomes bundled in with the console rather than just on its own. Microsoft have a massive opportunity with Kinect and if sales are slow in the first year don’t expect Microsoft to drop Kinect. It is here to stay and if they do it right it could become a huge success just like the Nintendo Wii. Microsoft’s core customer is the hardcore gamer and they should not ignore them. Nintendo have currently realised their mistake of neglecting their hardcore consumer and rectified the issue by announcing numerous hardcore friendly titles. If Microsoft can maintain that balance then they could satisfy the hardcore whilst becoming a big player in the lucrative casual market.