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Friday, August 23, 2013

[Survey] How Much Would You Pay for Movie Streaming?

Question: How much would you be willing to pay for online movie/TV show streaming?

Netflix, Hulu (& Hulu Plus), Amazon Prime, and more serve their customers with video streaming for a nominal fee. Netflix and Hulu Plus currently charge their users $7.99 per month. Hulu Plus not only charges their users a monthly fee but also uses advertisements. Amazon Prime charges their users around $79 per year for their service.

For you, what seems reasonable? Would you prefer to pay per month or year or maybe even on a daily basis? Would you be willing to pay less if you had to endure commercials? How many commercials? Would you use the service more for TV streaming or movie streaming?

Surveys Coming!

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When you see a post that has this before the title "[Survey]", it is a post asking you a question about your honest opinion. These are not time sensitive unless stated otherwise. All honest opinions are welcome on these posts!

We ask that you keep your opinion as honest and respectful as possible. We cannot tolerate anyone who will be disrespectful to others or uses our posts for their personal advertising, sorry.

If you guys have any questions you'd like us to ask, feel free to make your suggestions on any of our posts!

Thanks guys! Glad to have you as readers :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Saints Row IV PC Review - 9.3/10

Here's a quote you can use if you want to promote the game: "The most fun I've ever had with a Saints Row game". And its true. This is the most insane, awesome, fun, crazy Saints Row game I've ever played. Apart from the guns, story, super powers, massive open world to play around in, at every turn during the first few hours, my face was stuck in a permanent state of laughter... but I do have some gripes with the game. One of which is really glaring. Nevertheless, this game is awesome. It is Saints Row pumped up to 11.

The Good:
The graphics are really nice. A slight step up from The Third. However, I wasn't able to see them due to my policy of always lowering the graphics display and I actually needed it here. When using powers like the super jump to its fullest potential, jumping as high as possible into the air and gliding around the city, I did run into some slightly choppy frame rate. Then again, that would be my fault considering how obvious that would be that it would happen. Other than that, I never really experienced anything else like that in normal gameplay.
The guns are pretty awesome and I love the added option to customize them to a degree. There's a few guns you can have with the melee, handgun, submachine gun etc. that was in The Third. Every single gun has at least three different other guns it can be switched out with, that have different effects, fire rates etc. Apart from that, each gun can also be customized so that it has a different skin or looks like another gun entirely. The only guns you can't change the appearance of to a different gun look are the alien weapons and even then, they have an optional skin change. Guns can be easily upgraded to have a better fire rate, ammo capacity and damage as well as every gun having their own unique damage type like electricity or fire damage. In the case of alien weapons, their upgrade is usually a kill cool down, which means killing someone releases a slight cool down for your guns.
As always the story is over the top. You are the president, aliens have invaded, kidnapped your cabinet and now you're in a matrix-esque simulation trying to get yourself and your friends out. I also like how it fits into the gameplay. Killing civilians is okay since they're actually not real, whereas in the real world if you killed them people would frown on that.
Yes! Superpowers! Definitely the best part of this game. So far I've gotten five powers: jump, speed (unlocked at the beginning), telekinesis, ice and rock smash. Every one of those last three abilities I mentioned comes with an extra flavor to it. Ice can be changed to throw fire or even be used as a mind control projectile (each upgrade allows you to explode targets as well as take down the cool down time for abilities). Telekinesis eventually has a life steal ability and even an electricity power. Certain powers are unlocked by doing story missions. However, some alternate flavors to the powers are unlocked via side quests which show up easily on your hub as well as the rewards for said mission. The even nicer thing is that each ability can be easily equipped, switched and used on the fly, making for a seamless experience that I found nice. Check down for a few other things about the powers.

The Bad:
Powers are sometimes game breaking. During the Fraud missions, I found jumping up as high as possible then just flinging myself around made it easier. That's actually a plus for me since Fraud isn't one of my favorite missions. The problem is when you jump as high as possible, go into rag doll  and pray you don't fly into something you aren't supposed to. For instance, during the end, I flew into a building (one I wasn't supposed to be able to go in to). I'm not sure if the game's reset button wasn't working, but I stayed there a good five seconds inside the wall. So far this is the only thing that's happened to me, so if you do play this game, beware this can happen to you.
Another thing about powers is it completely screws up the motorcycle mechanics. I know this is a weird thing to say but motorcycles in the main Steelport hub world are garbage. You know that sprint and jump into vehicle thing we all did? If you do that for any motorcycle, the thing just will not respond normally. I'm, however, convinced this is only for the superpowered sprint as there is a mission in the game where you need a cycle and that one preformed fine. Again, if you want to play this game be wary of this.

The Meh:
Be careful about the upgrade system on this. When doing certain side missions, they have the option to grant you upgrades like unlimited sprint or the Collection Finder for free, without you needing to be at the proper respect level. The problem is this apparently doesn't register with the game's normal upgrade system, as you can still purchase the upgrades you already have. This doesn't negatively affect anything other than the fact you just wasted your money. Again, be wary. Same goes for guns. You can now make it so a single gun has unlimited ammo, yet the others won't. I do like the option to do this for certain weapons and liked that I didn't have to wait for my respect level to level up.
Cars seem kind of useless in this game, and I mean cars as in sedans and stuff, not tanks. Since you have super speed, you can pretty much go faster than anything at your first upgrade level. Driving cars feels sluggish and boring. Then again, I am not and have never really been a car person so I didn't care much. I just super speeded/jumped everywhere I needed to be.
Everything in this game feels super slow. That's probably due to the superhero effect of always going amazingly fast all the time. I mean everything like in pace. At some cutscenes I usually was like, "Ugh, BORING. I. Need. SUPERPOWERS."

I certainly enjoyed this game. A whole lot of fun, stuff to collect and plenty to love. I'd recommend this to anyone who has a joy for superhero games and has been either let down by the current quality of them or the lack of them waiting for the new inFamous coming out next year. Great for anyone who loves open world games with violence and an immature sense of humor.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified PC Review - 9.5/10

So school is starting again for me soon (yay...). Since it is, I have decided on two games to finish off my summer right. The first is this game. I'll admit, I haven't played the OG XCOM games (even though I do have them in my Steam library now). I did play Enemy Unknown which I thought was fantastic, so expect me draw parallels often.
For those of you in the dark, The Bureau is an XCOM game that diverts from the strategic elements of placing your squad from a top down view to kill aliens with the greatest of efficiency. It diverts by making it into a third person shooter. Some may be irked by this choice but I was intrigued. As I've said previously, I thought the last game was fantastic, but I had my gripes. This game is no different.

The Good:
Very nice graphics. I was surprised actually. Usually I turn down my settings to the lowest degree so I can get the best performance and I saw little change from medium to lowest. The graphics aren't last year nor next gen, kind of a split between like looking out a window at the graphics we can expect when the PS4 and Xbox One comes out. Also my PC handled this game quite well. Didn't really run into any hiccups or frame rate drops.
I really do like the change to a third person shooter. Enemy Unknown was more of a strategy, 'I hope I win this one', simulator. Which is to say, just because you had a clear line of sight and fired, doesn't mean you did any damage or anything significant. To make matters worse, I was always kicking myself whenever I moved a squad mate into a terrible position and got them killed. With this, fire fights seem more fair. When I fire, its my fault if it didn't connect, not some arbitrary counter. Combat is still difficult, even in the easiest mode, if you don't use your abilities and cover correctly. I felt less punished by a bad action and more chastised in the sense it turned out badly instead of horribly.
The enemy AI impressed me a lot. They moved in and out of cover, making it difficult to hit them without abilities. They used abilities intelligently and the heavier enemies would flank my team with ease while the lower armored ones would try and find openings to take us out. There's also a large variation of enemies so you'll never get too bored. Each enemy knew what they could do and never did anything too amazingly stupid.
The locations are really amazing. First mission dropped me in a burned out military base, second was a corpse infested small town, next was a farm at day with the sun shining, and then next was through a farm in the middle of night during a heavy rain. Needless to say I won't be getting bored anytime soon with the scenery.
Your base of command is really something. Well thought out, massive in its own way.
Simply put: the voice acting is great. On that note, I love the 60's theme the game took. Makes everything feel a bit more classy and nice.

The Bad:
The levels are really linear... which is to be expected because its a shooter and the lack of frame rate drop for me. A lot more linear than EU (Enemy Unknown). I marked this as bad because most people would say that but in my case I could go either way. Like that I have a better frame rate but not liking how small the levels sometimes feel.
The story is a bit predictable. I haven't played through the end, but its clear to see where its going.

The Meh:
This game is very watered down from EU. For instance, you could heavily upgrade and customize your base of operations last game where in this one its just there for you. Same goes for alien weapons. Usually you'd have to research that but here alien weapons are found lying around so if you pick it up once, your whole squad can use it from now on. Also, it doesn't cost anything to recruit new... well, recruits. In the previous game, it was really nail biting if you lost the majority of your troops. Here its just a click away. Why is this all in the 'Meh' instead of 'Bad'? Because a lot of other things were added in its place. For instance you now have a firing range to test out weapons, skills and crew effectiveness. Missions are slightly more lax so running around doing what you please is an option. You also have the option to send a squad member on a mission solo. Not to mention the story has been flushed out a lot more and there is actual interaction between aliens and humans on a non 'shooty-shooty' sense. You feel more attached to your squad now that they talk in battles as well as have unique skills from others in their class due to adding a 'background' style in which you can chose an even further specialization of a new recruit's class whether its to give more damage, receive less or even heal themselves. Weapons now feel like actual weapons rather than playing pieces in a badass chess game. There was a lot of focus put into the human side of this game and I can definitely respect that. While I miss upgrading my base, I now have small mini missions inside the base as well as getting to see the nooks and crannies up close for myself. I do miss those other things but I can't feel mad when they gave me a bunch of other new toys.
This game has a very Mass Effect feel to it. Three team members, one of which is you. Game slows down to a crawl when selecting abilities. I don't know. Its not a bad thing, just something I saw. Maybe the developers took pointers from Mass Effect?

This is a very good game and one I will have fun with for quite some time. Definitely a good game to send me off into the boring abyss that is college.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Divinity: Dragon Commander PC Review - 8.8/10

This game is... unique... I mean as far as I know. An RTS (real time strategy) with some almost helicopter fighting mixed in. If you have no idea what I mean by that, it means you can become a dragon and rain fire down on your enemies while they pummel them should you so please. I've only played one other Divinity game and never thought too highly of it nor any lower. More or less it was very much in the middle of the good or bad spectrum.
I'm going to come off the bat early and say I'm not a big RTS guy. Civilization is a really good game but in terms of actual addictiveness, RTSs never really do make an immense impression on me. That being said, this is a pretty decent game.

The Good:
The visuals are pretty nice. Not too shabby.
This handles like a different than normal RTS. To say you can be a dragon and pummel enemies like I said. You can do standard things in the genre like building up troops and attacking specific points. The dragon portion just adds a new flavor to the mix. A welcome flavor indeed. On easier missions, the dragon can just about finish the entire battle itself with you at the helm, provided you use it competently. Its not invincible, however. Nor can you just take it out at anytime in the battle. First you need 20 civilians for some reason. What do you like eat them for power or something? Anyway. You also need to wait for about forty seconds as well before you can actually summon said dragon. You have a variety of moves at your disposal. Gaining research points each turn which you can then trade for dragon skills or better troops, which is a nice compromise. But that's not really where this game shines.
This is the only RTS I've played with RPG (role playing game) elements to it. You are a commander. As such you have generals below you, each with their own morals, views and beliefs. Over time you'll make decisions they bring to you about your new empire. The even better side of this is there is no right answer. Make any decision and you'll offend someone. People may like to strategize their play through. Regardless of their feelings, side with a particular race to get bonuses when fighting on their lands. I, however, decided to do things my way and suffer the consequences of my actions. I really do like this. Each diplomat (diplomats govern areas while your generals have a slightly lesser role to play) has their own thoughts and no answer will satisfy all of them. The closest I got was all but one (four out of five) and it just so happened the one I offended was a dwarf, who's lands I was currently fighting in. Being conscious of this is crucial to the overall play of the game and is a definite plus for this game. Apart from that your diplomats also have little things to discuss with you via the command center or the bar on board. Oh yeah. This is all happening from a giant magical blimp which is kind of cool to say the least.

The Bad:
Most seasoned RTS players will notice this game is seriously watered down. Capturing small country tiles will give you access to whatever buidling is on that land, giving you bonuses or cards that can be generated. The problem is you only get on of these buildings. So you have to decide whether to have a Wizard Tower or a Gold Mine (etc). You can of course sell them later, but the fact still remains you can either generate gold or anything else. What else is also watered down is just combat in general. You start at one side of the map, send a squad to either attack the enemy directly or just capture certain points to drill out more troops and placing turrets to defend said points. You'll also get a certain thing that makes it so you can't have too many troops on the field. I think its set by the standing you have with the race that inhabits the area. I don't find this bad, but others may.
The way troops move is also weird. Sometimes when I'm trying to take over a neighboring country instead of the capital, my unit gets plopped right into the capital, causing the next turn to involve taking over that place. Its a minor misstep for me, as you can easily redo any move before a battle phase can be instigated by you.

Honestly, I do like this game. Its different from what I'm used to playing and becomes a great joy at times. Good for the guy/gal who things RTSs are a bit too boring and wants to be more involved in every aspect of gameplay.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How Not To Screw It Up - Saints Row IV

I really do love Saints Row. There's something about it that makes the game timeless, totally fun and over the top ridiculous. The original game was not in my 'Great Games' list but it was passable. Like most others, my love blossomed in the second one... and became stale in the Third. The Third wasn't a bad game, just not an adequate sequel to the second installment. To be honest, I never really cared that a fourth was coming out. I'd probably just pick it up later. But then I saw the trailer and immediately it was like a love rekindled.

1. Keep superpowers there on the fly. Not just some pick up or mission type thing.
Where I finally became almost fed up with The Third was in one of the DLCs when I got superpowers. 'Oh hell yeah! Just what this game was missing!' And then I lost them... that was extremely annoying. You gave me the powers of a god and took them away within an hour. The powers are what really caught my eye here. Most people will just say 'It will break the game and make it even easier than before' but that's wrong. It will make enemies harder and more intelligent to combat this awesome change. Even then, I'm sure its just as satisfying to kill enemies with guns too. No one ever said 'This game has too much awesome stuff!' and treated it like a bad thing. That doesn't make any sense.
The second installment was at the peak of customization. They took some stuff out of The Third which was disheartening but if only for a moment. To be honest, I don't care if they have to go back to the graphic style of the second one, customization for me is part of the Saint's experience. Saints Row will never be a GTA killer, and they realized this quite early. I bet the next meeting for the second game was 'What if we do the things GTA doesn't?' From simple things like a tilt of a hat to changing a characters entire appearance, Saints Row rivals The Sims in character customization with a GTA killing vibe and it works immensely.
3. Less story, more fun!
Saints the Third had a decent story. The problem was there was such a reliance on Respect that you gained from missions to upgrade your character. While not being bad, maybe make alternate avenues for us to gain this without having to progress through the story. I know you had side missions, but what about in game stuff? Maybe kill shots? That could be fun and work. I wouldn't feel forced to continue the story and rather focus on what I feel is the most important aspect for myself.
4. Keep the humor.
The main reason I don't play the first game is because it was far too serious. Its not bad but Saints thrives on the immaturity. Its an insane life raft in the sea of ultra serious games that is a nice breather. I like funny triple A titles. Saints Row fills that need for me.
5. Learn from past games.
This is pretty simple. Just take a look at everything that has happened in the last games and take feed back from your fans. Simple as that.

Like I said with the Assassin's Creed one, I don't expect developers to read this. This is more for others to know how I feel about games, those who want to make games to take in a account, people who go to gaming conventions to have questions for the developer and it encourages regular gamers just to be conscious of everything that is happening with a game. Thanks for reading.

How Not To Screw It Up - Assassin's Creed 4

If you saw my latest review on DARK, you'll know I thought the game BLOWS. Before it came out, I was going to do a new segment like this one, saying the things they should avoid in order to make it at least a passable game. That was more for vampire games in general. Its not that I expect the developers to read this, more like a mental note for anyone who wants to make games or people who like games and want to see my own personal opinions that I've developed through the years.
Assassin's Creed has always been a... decent series. Its been showing us some nice things and cool things along the way with questionable choices that make us go "Really? You thought that was a good idea?" Some of these things involve dumb AI, the fact you can get rid of notoriety completely just by tearing off a few posters and... Desmond... in general. First off, I do like Assassin's Creed and I did sort of like the third one (Assassin's Creed 3, not Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, though that was the best in my perspective). Also there haven't been many pirate games. Personally I'm for the ninja persuasion when it comes to the 'ninjas v. pirates' argument but pirates are pretty badass in their own right. Stealing, killing and just generally fun (literature wise that is). There's not much to hate about them. So why is it hard to make a pirate game?
1. Keep the open world aspect... open.
Open world games are great. The problem is the open part. Most times games confine you for a story mission or just a mission in general. Skyrim being a great example, causing you to go into extremely linear caves and places. I want freedom, flexibility, mobility. Being an assassin is all about this. I get some times this must be, but for the most part open worlds don't express the open-ness in missions.
2. The character does not have to be good, just don't make him annoying.
A bad character (morality wise) can be interesting. While people may say our new protagonist is completely unlikable, who cares. My major gripe with Desmond was he was trying to be a liked or a relate able character... which he failed at. All of us would love what we're seeing: cool technology, exotic locals, fact we are gaining killing skills from a long blood line of our ancestors who were all badasses. How is that not awesome? Desmond was all 'I don't like responsibility' 'I want a normal life'. Dude, you are a descendant of badasses... try to be one.
3. The story is weird and confusing. Drop it if you would.
The run down for AC is some dudes were here before man. However, they were killed off because of a comet or something. They left some stuff for humans so we could save ourselves. Hold up, if they died (this far advanced race, even more advanced than the game's current date of past memory machines and stuff) how are the humans still alive? Underground? Space? Where were our descendants living when this happened? This is too confusing... The way I see it is the story is... there. I don't care about it, I just want more killing. Don't make it a major part of the game. Now that Desmond is pretty much dead, I'm really interested to see where the story will go. New protagonist in a chair? One of Desmond's cousins? His dad? Long lost twice removed sister? You get the point. Maybe a girl would be nice. Insecure gamers get butthurt over the idea of playing as a female badass (ie. Metroid and Tomb Raider), but it would be a nice development. The PS Vita title doesn't count either. I want one (at least a DLC character) at least once on the consoles.
4. Assassinations should not be the 100% main focus.
In a game about assassins... I don't really care for the major assassinations. I personally like the cat and mouse deal where we screw with someone to the breaking point. Not in a torture sense but less 'He has to die' and more 'Let's have some fun'. Sounds sick? Not really. All the best stories about revenge or honor killings never just kill the bad guy immediately. Perhaps this is a different view. I know a better idea! What if we were given...
5. Choices!
Yes, actual story changing choices. Do I kill this guy? Nah. Will it come back to bite me in the ass later? Linear is not terrible but sometimes I feel like being the character rather than simply living with him. I know this goes against what the who theme is (killings in the past) and would screw with the continuity but some small things wouldn't hurt, right? Wait... I have the perfect idea! What if...
6. The ACTUAL main character was fully playable and has a big role in the story.
Desmond did... NOTHING. I don't care what you say. He did nothing. 3 did the most with him and that was boring. For the new guy (maybe gal), can we explore the world they are living in? Maybe hiding from Abstergo, or upgrading their base. Finding new people to take on as assassins, routing out corruption in the world, making assassinations change the world, for better or worse. It would make the game more realistic and a thousand times more awesome. Make it so I have two different games I can play instead of one. I would love that so much.

Again, these were just thoughts. I love the AC series and like most people I have a few gripes. I can't wait to get my hands on their new installment... as well as one of the new next gen consoles to run it at its best.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

[Video] Splinter Cell Blacklist RC Plane

I, like many others, pre-ordered Splinter Cell: Blacklist and are currently waiting for August 20th, 2013 to arrive so we can pick up the newest installment in the series.

Following in the same footsteps as other games like Call of Duty and Saint's Row who have given pre-orders extra bundles like an RC car and night vision goggles, SC is doing the same with giving a premium edition including an RC plane named "the Paladin".

For many of us, we're curious as to how this plane actually runs and if it's any good. You can see below for yourself in the YouTube video brought to you by Ubisoft, themselves.

It's not too late to pre-order your very own copy which should be coming out next month on August 20th, 2013.