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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Broken Age Act 1 PC Review - 9.5/10

Okay... okay. So the score may be in part do to the fact that Tim Schafer is awesome and I just want to play all of his games but I CAN back up my reasons.
Broken Age is a game that follows what Tell Tale is doing with The Walking Dead and now The Wolf Among Us by releasing a portion of a game and then giving you the rest later. Though apparently this one will is just a single payment for the entire game and the new acts will be added via update. Also this follows in the point and click game fashion a bit more retro than the other titles I mentioned and I'll probably say why below.

The Good:
Graphics! Ah! So nice. Actually can I even say graphics? Its more art style really. And it looks fantastic. Can't say if it cell shading or whatever it is but I love the look.
Voice acting is amazing! I mean seriously! There are so many moments where I just get absorbed into the dialogue just because they actors are doing an amazing job. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear that Elijah Wood's voice as the male protagonist which I thought was excellent.
The story is actually pretty good. I won't spoil much but the female protagonist is in quite a peculiar situation and the male is in a very boring, monotonous life despite his surroundings. Not sure how the story is going to progress in the coming acts, however I can say that the girl's is more interesting. Not really from the stand point that the male's is bad, just I found the girl's to be much more engaging at this point. But I may see that change later, who knows.
The puzzles are actually really great to solve. I'll talk about that later but when I do actually solve a simple puzzle its really nice and sometimes unique.

The Bad:
Don't like point and click games? You should probably stay away. Not that you shouldn't at the very least check this out but it does rely on it as a mechanic. Instead of just clicking on an item, you need to drag it to something to activate it, which isn't bad in itself for me personally. However, if you're anything like me you might just be stuck on a few things and not know what to do at all. Though the game nicely does sometimes drop subtle hints and even allows you to switch between characters at almost any time should the game become too frustrating at a point, the reticle is partially to blame here. When you hover over something with the mouse it turns from a plus sign to more of a sun when it comes to something you can interact with. Most of the times you'll just be pressing around trying to find what you actually need without actually finding it. I felt like not using a walkthrough for this game as I do so many others and just play it. The visuals keep me entertained but I still get stuck at points. Nevertheless, some of the ways you solve puzzles are actually quite interesting if not straight forward.

Honestly that's all I really have to say about this game. Like I said with The Walking Dead Season 2 and Wolf Among Us: I cannot know what the full product will be like so a full review based on what I've seen is a bit unfair since the game isn't fully complete. I will simply judge it on the merit that A) this is what I have at the moment and B) the current quality of the product should be evaluated as it is and taken into account this is simply a portion. I will try to give you the review of the next acts if I am able.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Path of Exile PC Review - 9/10

My personal point on free to play games is never really positive. Often times when you hear something is going to use the free to play model or is now gravitating to it, its never a good sign for me. When I think of an F2P game I usually think of an iPhone game, just neutered even more. While I have few problems with The Old Republic, its made in such a way that subscribing is the only viable way you'll actually have a decent time with the game. Things like locking you out of using but not obtaining items, go a long way to make me feel alienated by the whole process, so I tend to do my best to stay away from F2P's. And that's really kind of sad, considering most of the games are actually very good. And I think I just found one.
Path of Exile is a dungeon crawler in the F2P section of Steam. It came out fairly recently and I didn't give it much thought until I saw a review that changed my perspective and actually download the game and I must say I haven't regretted it in the slightest.

The Good:
The game runs very smoothly. I don't know if that's because of the toned down textures or just maybe a design feature. In a dungeon crawler, you're either moving or you're dying so to be able to keep up with combat is a must. Sure there are minor frame rate issues but even GTA V (which is now considered to be the most expensive game in history) has its hiccups now and again.
There's actually no gold in this game. No, not the mineral but the actual currency. In fact, there's not really much of a currency here. The story is that you were on a prison ship. One thing leads to another and now you're stranded on an island with dangerous creatures, along with NPCs and some other players that you may see walking about in towns. So with no gold, how do you buy and sell weapons? You ever played Torchlight? A pretty similar game save that it had gold for currency. Now you would have picked up this item which was very important to the game, an identify scroll. these scrolls would be used to identify certain weapons whose properties were unknown. This game uses the scrolls for their intended use as well, but now it works into a trading system. You'll pick up a few items here and there but instead of getting cash, you'll trade in these items for a bit of paper which turn into scrolls. Certain higher level items will cost a bigger trade and sometimes for different items, and the same can be said for when you trade them. These scrolls are very useful and you'll be wondering whether you should identify this possibly useless item or just trade it in to rack up some more scrolls to buy that nice weapon or armor. Its nice to see currency taking a different angle as well as incorporating the use of it into the story's lore. A nice touch I felt was very appreciated.
So onto the more controversial matter which is classic F2P model of where you are severely limited unless you use actual money. While this game does have its own market place, just about everything is cosmetic. You won't find xp boosters because you won't need them (not really anyway). You won't find that some of your abilities were cut out and now you have to pay an exorbitant price just to be slightly more whole. The whole market place is more of just a thank you to the developers just to say you like and support the game. Its really a relief to see I can play the game without having to feel empty and otherwise incomplete. Personally, I wouldn't mind sinking a few bucks into this game.

The Bad:
This game has a bit of a learning curve, even if you're a veteran dungeon crawler. While just about every key is bindable, you should look over the controls anyway. I is classic inventory, clicking picks up items and attacks (a little frustrating but I've gotten use to it), U opens up the quest log, M is for the Marketplace, O is options, and tab is for the map. Items also won't be inherently visible after a battle since their names disappear unless you hold down Alt or if you switch them on always with Z. Manageable but annoying at first playthrough.
If you don't know how to use the map, prepare to get lost. You can have a mini map and always look into your quest guide, sure. But after all that, it only tells you where you're going next and not how to get there. The map is your best friend in caves and in general.

The Meh:
I know those of us who don't have higher specs on our PCs are happy the frame rate is good but those with the humming beasts are going to be left wanting. Then again, graphics shouldn't really decide on whether or not you play a game unless they are atrocious. And while I'm on the subject, I wish the gear looked a bit different or otherwise cooler. A drop from a boss should look like one and not another generic item I'm just going to pawn.
The skill tree could have been worked better. When you see it, it will be the most daunting thing you've ever seen, and that's coming from a person who plays Dark Souls. Its a bit of a mess and I wish it was reworked so that things could be more visible.

All in all, not a bad game. And since its free, I can focus on wasting my money in other places. You should definitely give it a look.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why Early Access (Kinda) Makes Sense

Let's say a new game on Steam just pops up. You have no idea who the developer is and what this little blue bar underneath the screen shots means. "Early... access? What's that?"
Now I'm going to say something a bit... drastic. Early access means... the game isn't finished. Basically its probably passed the alpha stage and its come to a point where playing it isn't going to be too much of a hassle... sometimes. To reiterate, Early Access means the game isn't completely finished, but its to a point where you can actually play it and the game will be worked on for an indefinite period of time. Lets just put a few things out there. I've been hearing a lot about how this is simply a way for a developer to get money off of a product that isn't finished, that you're basically buying a portion of a game and the rest is still being worked on. To that I have to say, "Are you enjoying your copy of Battlefield 4?" Smart niche jokes aside, Battlefield 4 is a Triple A game made from a Triple A developer. Why is it broken? In lay-men's terms, no game is actually finished. Even though the initial product has been put forward, you're still going to encounter some bugs and minor glitches at best. At worst, game breaking stuff. So now that we know no game is truly 100% complete are we warming up to the idea of Early Access? No? Well maybe I should direct the developer.
See, buying a portion of a game seems awful. But to any person who's ever played an MMO for an extended period of time, they know what I'm talking about. Constantly their game will be patched, given updates and even fix major bugs. Its not because its an MMO, its because its a game. All games are inherently broken to a point so buying a portion of a game is not the weirdest thing when you look at it in context. However, paying FULL PRICE for these games, is absurd. Even the slightest discount makes the game seem a thousand times more appealing. So I may not be playing this game every single day, but I can see the game is getting patched and eventually I might pick it up again later. I purchased one of these games from a developer I trusted implicitly and (I won't say the game or the developer) the game was horribly broken. My people kept letting themselves die, I had no way to control them to do simple, life continuing tasks. However, the game has been patched a few times since my purchase. Have they fixed the bugs? Maybe. Haven't had time to check. But the fact is they were trying to patch it, it has been patched and they made a promise to continue patching it.
You put an Xbox (Original) in and play it. Sure there are bugs even after a decade of the game being released. It is amazing that this day and age, its common knowledge that just about everyone has an internet connection or access to one within a few blocks of where they live. Its amazing that developers can now fix a game and then send us the fix. Long story short, don't knock it till you try it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Metal Gear Rising Revengance - PC Review 8.7/10

This game was one of those games that had an amazing concept, a great engine or an amazing game mechanic. For this game it was the game mechanic. "Slash anything is perfect precision!" I never got this game because... well I don't really know why. Thought I'd pick it up on PC and see how it was.

The Good:
Nice graphics. Nuff said.
The dialogue is very campy. Veeeeery campy. I think it works in the game's favor. Too serious isn't really it's forte. Over the top and awesome.
The cutting mechanic actually works well. Though I admit I'm using a controller it works well. Precise and functional, not to mention loads of fun.

The Bad:
Bugs. Bugs galore. Bugs over here, bugs over there. There's many bugs to be found. Well not many, at least as far as I can see. But there are a few, some recurring. Some even game breaking. First one happened after the first portion of the boss fight. The person I was tailing had stopped running forward and stayed in place. I found it amusing at first but what I didn't find funny was when after the second part of the boss fight, I was thrown into the clock tower only to have it disappear and I spent the remainder of two minutes thinking I was going to move at some point, only to find the exact opposite. Imagine my surprise when this same bug occurred when I created a new game. The bug is easily fixed by just reloading. However, you will have to fight the second part again. The point where it was absolutely unforgiving was the last boss fight. In the very final part, you're supposed to use blade mode to slice the enemy's attack back at them twice. Problem was whenever the prompt came up, it was far too fast for me to even press the button, so I thought. After dying, I tried it again and the same thing happened. I tried just about every button before I realized either this was a design choice to make it impossible for someone like me to finish the game, or simply yet another (and the most unforgivable) bug had just occurred. Needless to say, I restarted a new game to find out that the bugs repeated themselves.

Not much to say further about the game. Its fun if you can get past its annoyances. If you've played the game, I don't think they've added anything else so its pretty much the same. Fun for me but I wish the bugs were non existent.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why I Deleted My Facebook Profile

Facebook doesn't really want you to know it, but there is a way to permanently delete your profile. Most every user knows about deactivation and I'm sure most have actually used this feature at least once or twice in their life on the social media site, but few know that there's a way to permanently delete it to the point where your information can no longer be retrieved. (I'm sure there are limits to this, of course, such as law enforcement's court order, Facebook employees, etc.)

For anyone wondering how you can permanently delete your profile, click here for the link. This requires that you also wait at least 2 weeks and not log into Facebook for it to completely finalize. If you do so happen to log back in, you have the option to get your account back before the 2 weeks is up.

So why would I delete my account that I've had for over 7 years? For a few reasons actually...

I've been wanting to delete my Facebook for a few years now; it had grown too much apart of my life and became an unhealthy addiction. There are many studies that have also linked depression in people with social networks like Facebook. I was starting to feel depressed myself; watching my friends' lives and how successful they've become and how much fun they have while I was sitting in on a Friday night.

In truth, I have a love-hate relationship with the social network. I'll probably be back but not for personal reasons, it'll be for business-related reasons. I was able to connect with family members across state-lines and rekindle old friendships from my childhood which was mostly enjoyable. However, there were lots of negatives.

In more recent years, I began to question the website and it's effect in my life. Why was I sharing the information that I was with these people? While many of them are close friends and family, I always wondered why they needed to know what was on my mind or what was going on in my life. Not that I have anything to hide, but I don't need people knowing my whereabouts before I even speak to them. In my years on MySpace, I also found that one of the people on my friendslist had some sort of grudge against me. To this day, I still have no idea who it was and what their true intentions were. It's scary thinking that I shared private information with people including some who may hate me.

There is not only a concern of privacy for family and those we call friends, but also from Facebook and others. Recent news articles suggest that Facebook is sharing data with other websites and it's not hard to believe considering how well connected Facebook is with other websites (the "like" button, "share" button, etc.). There is even at least one conspiracy involving Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and the FBI saying that he is very close. It's safe to say that 99% of the things posted on Facebook pose no threat to public safety, but why share the data with them in the first place? Why give them an opportunity to know where you are? Why release this information where it can potentially be seen by others like someone who wants to learn your schedule and break into your home? Highly unlikely, but it's not something that makes me enthusiastic to stay.

As I said before, I had an active account with Facebook for over 7 years. Can you imagine what kinds of things you said and believed 7 years ago? Chances are that you believed and thought much different things. Considering what little we thought of the internet 7 years ago compared to today, it's also scary thinking what sorts of things we shared with the world wide web back then that we wouldn't consider sharing now. However, not everyone is so understanding if they were to read yesterday's story today.

I considered some of the better things, but these were just many of the things that I considered when deleting my profile.

As I said before, I may return but for different reasons than before. Unfortunately, Facebook has become so much of a huge part of our world, both digital and physical, that we sometimes need a Facebook profile. A few of the dating apps that I used required a Facebook profile (to ensure that you are a real person) and some games use Facebook to save data.

Facebook is a tool and can be used for bad as well as good. Many companies and start-up businesses use it to promote their business and it is a smart and cost-effective way to advertise. It's free (or cheap) and word-of-mouth goes a long way especially considering that users can connect with others from all over the world with the click of a button in a second.

I'll miss my friends and family especially those that I rarely see, but I figured that this was the best decision to make for myself and my future especially considering this is a new year and a great time to make new choices.

What about you guys? What's your relationship with Facebook? Love it? Hate it? Never used it? Wanna leave it? Wanna stay?

Spotting Malware in an E-mail

I received a suspicious e-mail a few days ago from an unknown contact about sharing a photo with me. Here's what the picture looks like.

The message says "My private photo for you" and there's an attachment. Fortunately for people like me who use this particular e-mail client, we are told what the file is. For others, they simply see "JPG" and assume that it's a picture file and download it. What they may not have realized is that this is actually a .zip, not a .jpg.

.jpg files are for viewing photos while .zip files are zips that contain information, sometimes even executable files. These are what makes them so dangerous.

If I downloaded this file to my computer and opened it, it more than likely contained some sort of trojan virus that would invade my computer.

The lesson of the day is be careful of what you see and make sure that the file you are downloading, really is the file you think it is.

This is a trick often used by scammers in another pathetic attempt to gain control of your machine. As of now, there is no real way to mimic extensions of other files to make a .zip look exactly like a .jpg. .jpgs have no real way of causing harm to a computer; however, .zips do and are notorious for it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blackberry Suing Typo

A successful Kickstarter project has gone public and is almost ready to ship their device known as Typo for iPhone phones. Typo is backed by many consumers through Kickstarter and others like American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest.

The device will attach to the bottom of the iPhone and use Bluetooth connectivity to connect to the iPhone to act as a physical keyboard to replace the on-screen one. Typo advertises one of the strengths of this being that it allows for a larger display for applications.

While most in the electronic community are enthusiastic and optimistic about this new accessory, not all share the same feeling. Blackberry, once one of the most popular mobile devices in the United States, especially among businesses, prior to the iPhone's release, has taken issue with the accessory and is taking this fight to the courts.

According to Blackberry, the Typo is much too similar to the Blackberry's earlier devices' keyboards which were highly popular and almost a trademark of the Blackberry brand.

What do you think of the keyboard's design? Does Blackberry have a case (no pun intended) or not?

Please Excuse the Blog's Design

I was browsing the blog earlier today and was a bit disappointed in the way that it's designed. As many of my older readers can remember, this blog has undergone some major changes and it will continue to do so until we can establish something that works well aesthetically and functionally for you as a loyal reader. We do appreciate your support. Just by visiting our blog and becoming interested in what we have to say is a lot to us and I cannot express enough how much we appreciate it.

I am a bit disappointed and upset that our search functionality does not seem to work for our readers. I visited to see whether I could search for particular posts using the search feature yet it doesn't seem to work as it never took me anywhere. I will be looking into this very shortly to address the issue.

In the coming years or even months, perhaps, we'd like to move from Blogger to another provider. Blogger has been an amazing host to us with very few problems but we'd like a better structured environment that can better suite our needs by allowing multiple pages, places dedicated to items rather than being spread all throughout the blog, and much more. Our goal is to move away from being about small blogging and our personal opinions and more about actual news that informs you of the latest as it happens. With this, we'd also like to bring on some new authors whether they be permanent or come by every now and then to post a few articles. If you are an aspiring blog author and would like to contribute, keep tuned to our URL to see when we're ready to bring on new authors.

In the meantime, we continue to appreciate your interest in our blog and we ask that you please bear with us as we make these changes. Also, never fear to leave feedback anywhere on any of our posts about any issues that you see with the blog's design. If a function is not working as it should, please do not hesitate to let us know. If you would also like to leave feedback like what colors you think would be great for us to utilize, feel free to also tell us! Us as authors rarely actually view the same webpages you guys are seeing.

As always, thank you again everyone for your patience with us and stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Issues with iMessage & Notifications on Jailbreak?

iOS 7 jailbreak has been running very well for me and been very excellent for the most part. I, like many others, have run into a few issues.

One of the issues was using iMessage and notifications were not being sent to me in many apps from Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail, to SnapChat and Instagram!

As for iMessage, it wasn't working as it should. Messages were not being sent through iMessage and while others were sending me messages, my iPhone was not converting iMessages into texts from others and receiving them. Instead, there was some sort of jam in the transmission that made Apple servers think my iPhone could receive iMessages but my iPhone really couldn't.

If you are facing either of these issues, I may just have the solution to fix your issue.

My particular issue appears to be in the Sources of Cydia. I'm not sure the exact details why, but what I did seems to have fixed the issue.

I removed all sources that I added to Cydia and left all the ones that came with the jailbreak. After doing so, I checked to make sure my apps from these sources were still available. They were and I rebooted my phone.

After rebooting and coming back to the home screen, my notifications icons returned and iMessages that were stuck in limbo came all at once. I was able to confirm that messages not only have their notification icons but also send their original ringtone and light up screen as before.

This makes me curious as to what sources actually do, what effects they have on our devices, and if having too many can be an issue or if it's just one or two that affected it.

If anyone can, can you explain any of these questions to us? I, in particular, am curious more about sources.