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  1. Installation Instructions: Place 7dServerUtility.exe in the same directory as 7DaysToDie.exe and run once. It will create a default INI file that you will need to modify for your server. Once you have modified the ini, restart the script and enjoy. If you want to use Putty to safely shutdown the server, then visit http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html and download puttytel.exe . Place puttytel.exe in the same directory as 7dServerUtility.exe Remote Restart Instructions: Run 7dServerRemoteRestart.exe from anywhere. It will create a default INI file that you must modify. Modify the INI file and fill in the server IP and Restart Port. Optionally you can fill in the password field and it will save it so you don't have to type it each time. 7dServerUtility.au3 #include #include <Date.au3>#include <Process.au3>;User VariablesIf FileExists("7dServerUtility.ini") Then Local $GamePort = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "GameServerPort", "GamePort", "25000") Local $ConfigFile = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "GameConfigFile", "ConfigFile", "serverconfig.xml") Local $UseRemoteRestart = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Use_Remote_Restart?yes/no", "UseRemoteRestart", "no") Local $g_IP = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "IP_To_Listen_On", "ListenIP", "") Local $g_Port = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Port_To_Listen_On", "ListenPort", "57539") Local $RestartCode = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Remote_Restart_Password", "RestartCode", "FVtb2DXgp8SYwj7J") Local $RestartDaily= IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_Daily?yes/no", "RestartDaily", "no") Local $HotHour = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_Time_Hour?00-23", "HotHour", "00") Local $HotMin = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_Time_Minute?00-59", "HotMin", "01") Local $ExMem = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Excessive_Memory_Amount", "ExMem", "2000000000") Local $ExMemRestart = IniRead("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_On_Excessive_Mem_Use?yes/no", "ExMemRestart", "no")Else IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "GameServerPort", "GamePort", "25000") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "GameConfigFile", "ConfigFile", "serverconfig.xml") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Use_Remote_Restart?yes/no", "UseRemoteRestart", "no") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "IP_To_Listen_On", "ListenIP", "") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Port_To_Listen_On", "ListenPort", "57539") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Remote_Restart_Password", "RestartCode", "FVtb2DXgp8SYwj7J") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_Daily?yes/no", "RestartDaily", "no") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_Time_Hour?00-23", "HotHour", "00") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_Time_Minute?00-59", "HotMin", "01") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Excessive_Memory_Amount", "ExMem", "2000000000") IniWrite("7dServerUtility.ini", "Restart_On_Excessive_Mem_Use?yes/no", "ExMemRestart", "no") MsgBox(4096, "Default INI File Made", "Please Modify Default Values and Restart Script") ExitEndIfOnAutoItExitRegister("CloseServer")Func CloseServer() If FileExists(@ScriptDir & "\puttytel.exe") Then $PuttyPort = $GamePort+3 Run(@ScriptDir & "\puttytel.exe -P "& $PuttyPort & " "& $g_IP) WinWait($g_IP &" - PuTTYtel","") Local $CrashCheck = WinWait("PuTTYtel Fatal Error","",5) If $CrashCheck = 0 Then ControlSend($g_IP &" - PuTTYtel", "", "", "{enter}") ControlSend($g_IP &" - PuTTYtel", "", "", "shutdown{enter}") WinWait("PuTTYtel Fatal Error","",10) Local $PID = ProcessExists("puttytel.exe") If $PID Then ProcessClose($PID) EndIf Else Local $PID = ProcessExists("puttytel.exe") Local $PID2 = ProcessExists("7DaysToDie.exe") If $PID Then ProcessClose($PID) EndIf If $PID2 Then ProcessClose($PID2) EndIf EndIf Else Local $PID = ProcessExists("7DaysToDie.exe") If $PID Then ProcessClose($PID) EndIf EndIfEndFuncFunc _TCP_Server_ClientIP($hSocket) Local $pSocketAddress, $aReturn $pSocketAddress = DllStructCreate("short;ushort;uint;char[8]") $aReturn = DllCall("ws2_32.dll", "int", "getpeername", "int", $hSocket, "ptr", DllStructGetPtr($pSocketAddress), "int*", DllStructGetSize($pSocketAddress)) If @error Or $aReturn[0] <> 0 Then Return $hSocket $aReturn = DllCall("ws2_32.dll", "str", "inet_ntoa", "int", DllStructGetData($pSocketAddress, 3)) If @error Then Return $hSocket $pSocketAddress = 0 Return $aReturn[0] EndFunc ;==>_TCP_Server_ClientIPIf $UseRemoteRestart = "yes" Then; Start The TCP ServicesTCPStartup()Local $MainSocket = TCPListen($g_IP, $g_Port, 100)If $MainSocket = -1 Then ExitEndIfwhile True if WinExists("Oops!") Then ControlSend("Oops!", "", "", "{enter}") Sleep (10000) EndIfIf $UseRemoteRestart = "yes" ThenLocal $ConnectedSocket = TCPAccept($MainSocket)If $ConnectedSocket >= 0 Then;TrayTip("Connected","Someone connected to server.",3)$Count = 0While $Count < 30$RECV = TCPRecv($ConnectedSocket,512) If $RECV = $RestartCode Then Local $PID = ProcessExists("7DaysToDie.exe") ; Will return the PID or 0 if the process isn't found. If $PID Then $IP = _TCP_Server_ClientIP($ConnectedSocket) Local $MEM = ProcessGetStats($PID, 0) FileWriteLine(@ScriptDir & "\7dServerUtility_RestartLog.txt", @MON &"-"& @MDAY &"-"& @YEAR &" "& @HOUR &":"& @MIN &" --Work Memory:"& $MEM[0] & _ " --Peak Memory:"& $MEM[1] &" Restart Requested by Remote Host: "& $IP) ;ProcessClose($PID) CloseServer() Sleep (10000) ExitLoop EndIf EndIf$Count += 1Sleep (1000)WEndIf $ConnectedSocket <> -1 Then TCPCloseSocket($ConnectedSocket)EndIfEndIfLocal $PID = ProcessExists("7DaysToDie.exe")If $PID = 0 Then Run(@ScriptDir & "\7DaysToDie.exe -quit -batchmode -nographics -configfile="& $ConfigFile &" -dedicated") Sleep (70000)Else Local $MEM = ProcessGetStats($PID, 0) If $MEM[0] > $ExMem And $ExMemRestart = "no" Then FileWriteLine(@ScriptDir & "\7dServerUtility_ExcessiveMemoryLog.txt", @MON &"-"& @MDAY &"-"& @YEAR &" "& @HOUR &":"& @MIN &" --Work Memory:"& $MEM[0] & _ " --Peak Memory:"& $MEM[1]) Sleep (10000) ElseIf $MEM[0] > $ExMem And $ExMemRestart = "yes" Then FileWriteLine(@ScriptDir & "\7dServerUtility_RestartLog.txt", @MON &"-"& @MDAY &"-"& @YEAR &" "& @HOUR &":"& @MIN &" --Work Memory:"& $MEM[0] & _ " --Peak Memory:"& $MEM[1] &" Excessive Memory Use - Restart Requested by 7dServerUtility Script") ;ProcessClose($PID) CloseServer() Sleep (10000) EndIfEndIf If @HOUR = $HotHour And @MIN = $HotMin And $RestartDaily = "yes" Then Local $PID = ProcessExists("7DaysToDie.exe") If $PID Then Local $MEM = ProcessGetStats($PID, 0) FileWriteLine(@ScriptDir & "\7dServerUtility_RestartLog.txt", @MON &"-"& @MDAY &"-"& @YEAR &" "& @HOUR &":"& @MIN &" --Work Memory:"& $MEM[0] & _ " --Peak Memory:"& $MEM[1] &" Daily Restart Requested by 7dServerUtility Script") ;ProcessClose($PID) CloseServer() EndIf Sleep (10000) EndIfSleep (500)WEnd 7dServerRemoteRestart.au3 ; Start The TCP Services ;============================================== TCPStartup() ; Set Some reusable info ;-------------------------- Local $ConnectedSocket, $szDataIf FileExists("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini") Then Local $szIPADDRESS = IniRead("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini", "GameServerIP", "szIPADDRESS", "") Local $nPORT = IniRead("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini", "RestartServerPort", "nPORT", "57539") Local $RPassword = IniRead("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini", "DefaultRestartPassword", "RPassword", "")Else IniWrite("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini", "GameServerIP", "szIPADDRESS", "") IniWrite("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini", "RestartServerPort", "nPORT", "57539") IniWrite("7dServerRemoteRestart.ini", "DefaultRestartPassword", "RPassword", "") MsgBox(4096, "Default INI File Made", "Please Modify Default Values and Restart Script") ExitEndIf ; Initialize a variable to represent a connection ;============================================== $ConnectedSocket = -1 ;Attempt to connect to SERVER at its IP and PORT 57539 ;======================================================= $ConnectedSocket = TCPConnect($szIPADDRESS, $nPORT) ; If there is an error... show it If @error Then MsgBox(4112, "Error", "TCPConnect failed with WSA error: " & @error) ; If there is no error loop an inputbox for data ; to send to the SERVER. Else ;Loop forever asking for data to send to the SERVER While 1 ; InputBox for data to transmit $szData = InputBox("Reset The 7 Days to Die Server", @LF & @LF & "Enter the code to Reset The 7 Days to Die Server:",$RPassword) ; If they cancel the InputBox or leave it blank we exit our forever loop If @error Or $szData = "" Then ExitLoop ; We should have data in $szData... lets attempt to send it through our connected socket. ; convert AutoIt native UTF-16 to UTF-8 TCPSend($ConnectedSocket, StringToBinary($szData, 4)) ExitLoop ; If the send failed with @error then the socket has disconnected ;---------------------------------------------------------------- If @error Then ExitLoop WEnd EndIfIf $ConnectedSocket <> -1 Then TCPCloseSocket($ConnectedSocket)TCPShutdown()
  2. Elder Scrolls Online is available for pre-order on PC/MAC in Digital or Retail Editions, and Playstation 4/Xbox One in Retail Editions. There is a Standard Edition and Imperial Edition. The Standard Edition is going for $59.99 and includes 5 Days Early Access, and 30 Days of Included Game Time. The Imperial Edition is going for $79.99 and includes 5 Days Early Access, 30 Days of Included Game Time, and all of these additions: Play as an Imperial Become an Imperial and play in any Alliance. Gain unique bonuses, crafting styles, gear and more Imperial White Horse Summon this exclusive Imperial mount and journey through Tamriel with increased speed. Craft Imperial Gear Ability to craft Imperial style when crafting gear. Transform Into Imperial Gear Transform any gear you own into Imperial styled gear. Rings of Mara Complete the Ritual of Mara with a friend and receive an experience bonus when you play together. Mudcrab Vanity Pet Explore Tamriel with this exclusive vanity pet scuttling along by your side. Both Pre-Orders Include: The ability to play any race in any alliance.Scuttler Vanity PetBonus Treasure MapsAfter the initial 30 days of included game time your subscription will cost $14.99. http://elderscrollsonline.com Click here to view the article
  3. The Standard Edition is going for $59.99 and includes 5 Days Early Access, and 30 Days of Included Game Time. The Imperial Edition is going for $79.99 and includes 5 Days Early Access, 30 Days of Included Game Time, and all of these additions: Play as an Imperial Become an Imperial and play in any Alliance. Gain unique bonuses, crafting styles, gear and more Imperial White Horse Summon this exclusive Imperial mount and journey through Tamriel with increased speed. Craft Imperial Gear Ability to craft Imperial style when crafting gear. Transform Into Imperial Gear Transform any gear you own into Imperial styled gear. Rings of Mara Complete the Ritual of Mara with a friend and receive an experience bonus when you play together. Mudcrab Vanity Pet Explore Tamriel with this exclusive vanity pet scuttling along by your side. Both Pre-Orders Include: The ability to play any race in any alliance. Scuttler Vanity Pet Bonus Treasure Maps After the initial 30 days of included game time your subscription will cost $14.99. http://elderscrollsonline.com
  4. Once the tutorial is complete the rest of the menu is opened and you are free to enjoy all of the games modes. Campaign, Zombie Survival, Wave Survival, Gladiator matches, Base matches, Death matches, even a league of legends like Space Defense League. The graphics are good for an indie title and the sound is excellent, but what really sets this game apart is the story and universe it creates. With a wonderful sense of humor I haven’t felt since the heyday of Sierra’s games Space Quest and King’s Quest, Ring Runner brings you in and doesn't let up until the nitros soaked thrill ride is over. Gameplay can be executed though mouse and keyboard or gamepad. While ship movement does come with a steeper learning curve than most shoot-em ups, it has an even deeper payoff once mastered. The companion novel that can be found on Amazon showcases the rich history and background this new mythos has to offer. Well-crafted and nicely setting the stage for a budding franchise, Derelict Dreams is that rare engaging story you get lost in, and then suddenly realize its 2 A.M. Even if you’re not prone to indie games, this is the kind of franchise you want to get into on the ground floor and ride as far as it goes.
  5. I’ll be honest. Not well. I went into this game with the expectations not of the game surpassing the original Amnesia, but at least holding the same ground; the same terror, the same unsettling feel. Expecting too much would have just been letting myself down from the get-go, it's a formula for failure; but it's certainly fair enough to expect the game to be at least as successful as it's predecessor. Without divulging too much of the storyline, it's difficult to explain exactly where A:AMfP went wrong. The first Amnesia was rich in story, giving a fairly detailed history of Daniel's journey prior to Brennenburg, his travels to Brennenburg itself, then what transpired within the castle. Amnesia is about rediscovering everything Daniel had done, and his attempts to atone for his perceived sins. Well, this is normal. A:AMfP, while having a fantastically disturbing storyline, falls short on exposition and really drawing you in. They kind of briefly touch on Oswald Mandus's history, skipping here and there, and the Machine is never really EXPLAINED in all it's glory. Which is a shame, because it is truly a glorious Machine. But more importantly, the entire tone of the story has changed. While this may be intentional or not, and the Dark Descent invoked terror and sometimes disgust at the actions performed by both Alexander and Daniel, A:AMfP caused me just to feel.. well.. sad. I sympathized with my attackers, and began to loathe my own character. Again, this may have been intentional; but it was not exactly what I was expecting. Regarding your attackers, however, is probably the most disappointing portion. They're beautifully rendered - no doubt - but lacking the fear factor that the Grunt and the Brute did. Why? A plethora of factors reigns in here. For starters, A:AMfP did away with the insanity effect, something I think was an extremely poor decision. Sure, Mandus may have been batshit insane to begin with, but technically so was Daniel by that point. The amount of times I was clearly able to see the 'monster' coming after me really ruined the fear of the unknown, and the complete lack of 'panic music' also took away. Yeah, that electric shredding guitar could get annoying in the Dark Descent sometimes, but it also made you absolutely panic as you knew that one of the monsters was hot on your tail. Instead here, you just have a pig squealing maniacally as it chases you (or doesn't, as I found out) and that's pretty much about it. To boot, the AI is godawfully stupid. The Dark Descent didn't boast any sort of higher processing AI for certain, but I was hoping they'd at least improve upon it for A:AMfP. Not only did they seem to not add to it, but they also seemed to detract. I was able to slip around pigmen undetected in the weirdest situations, and as long as I had my lantern away, I could pretty much shove my face in theirs. My first patrol encounter I was terrified, until I realized how slow and utterly stupid they were. It became more of route memorization instead of a "oh god don't let it get me" moment. And while the models again, were lovely, they utilized them too much. Sounds odd, I know. But unfortunately it’s true. Don’t worry about missing the pigman early in the game – you’ll be seeing them a lot further on. I mean, a lot. It’ll eventually become sort of boring, and he’ll just become a mobile surveillance camera that can stab you. It was nice to see them up close, but that’s something that detracts from the scares, not adds to them. The Grunt and Brute were even kind of silly in their own right once you finally knew what they looked like, but the insanity blur and consistent darkness prevented you from seeing them fully. You remained scared. Dan Pinchbeck stated in his interviews over a year ago [courtesy Gamasutra]: ... ... Reading back on those, I'm surprised. While the experience was fresh, and definitely beautiful, there was absolutely no real reason to explore. Why? Because of the lack of inventory management and item collection. No lamp oil to grab, no tinderboxes to utilize. That sounds silly to some I'm sure (and a lot of people are just avid explorers) but having a lantern that never dies out, that flickers at the slightest hint of danger - completely removes the entire aspect of SURVIVAL horror. Instead, I felt like I was being told a scary story, and I was being yanked through a path semi-reluctantly. Some of the frustration that lead to being lost in the dungeons of Brennenburg was not knowing if you got all the items, or even the correct items – and that was both a good and bad thing. Sure, it pissed you off, but it got you actively spending time in the game SEARCHING for things. No stone left unturned, you generally tore apart every room to see if there was a glowing goodie in it. Items would begin to cause fear due to the high number of trigger events, and taking all of that away lead to a lot of disappointment. Look at all this shit I can't interact with! I'M SO EXCITED. And unfortunately, this leads to yet another issue. Lack of object interactivity. This was probably my major complaint, as weird as that sounds. Amnesia: TDD was great because you COULD have a rage moment and chuck a potato sack across the room, or try and protect yourself against a monster with a broom or a hammer (poorly advised, but people still did it anyway). I do realize that item stacking could cause game-breaking problems, but people set out to break the game will find ways anyway, so removing those things really made no sense to me. I enjoy playing a lot of Amnesia mods, and utilize the barrel trick; any large object works, really; you hold it up in front of the monster, and it can no longer “see” you, and as long as you don’t move, you can generally avoid an encounter. A problem, yes. Fixable? Yes. But not by removing your interaction with the world. Wow, I can touch a lamp! Oo, I can throw a chair? But I can’t shuffle these boxes, or pick up this book, or smash a bottle against the wall in frustration. Giant locks across cupboards and doors just reminded you how little you really could do. The last negative I’ll touch upon is simply the ending. While I won’t spoil it for anyone, I will state that you get no choice. While the choices in the first Amnesia were fairly minute, you still had a CHOICE. You could let Alexander get away and be consumed by the Shadow, kill Alexander and emerge victorious from Brennenburg, or chuck Agrippa’s chatty head into the portal and help him get back to a realm he was better fit for (effectively killing Alexander anyway). All three endings had minor differences, and while not the same epic buildup as A:AmfP’s (the buildup to the ending is absolutely magnificent, save the odd choice of … erm... Pig Daddy?) you still felt satisfied that you could MAKE that choice. A:AMfP goes “lol nope” and forces their predetermined ending upon you. Unless there’s another path you can divert to (and I screwed around on a previous save 30 minutes prior, and even sat before the final climax for 5 minutes to see if waiting around made a difference) then that’s it. And it’s disappointing. And it makes no flipping sense. They missed so many opportunities, and I was so disheartened by it. Now that I’ve complained a ton, let’s get onto the good stuff! Because there IS good stuff. The soundtrack to this game is spectacular. The singing is beautiful and haunting, and the ambience is fantastic. I also couldn’t praise the voice actors more, for being fairly engaging for a character you play. Mandus himself was enjoyable to listen to, and I enjoyed hearing his bit pieces. While I complained about the lack of interactivity, I will say that the world as a whole was absolutely beautiful. It was exciting to be able to go outside for once, and once you delve into the Machine, it visually gets more and more interesting. By the time you hit the end of the game, your eyes are feasting on delicious candy and wind up craving more. Disturbing candy, sure, but man is it good. I would stop and look around to just enjoy the environment from time to time, when I was sure I wasn’t being chased or otherwise. That, to me, is a great thing to experience. I had to provide at least one mildly disturbing image. And it's only mild because the camera's turned. While I did not feel the same terror and horror as the first Amnesia, there were a few very good scares in there. I’m not saying this isn’t a scary game. You do get frightened every now and again, and you do have to be stealthy and keep your wits about you. It’s a different sort of scared; less horror scared, and more stealth game scared. You don’t want the security to find you – but it doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. One of my favourite scares involves the Bilge level, and I’m sure many of you will find out why. It’s subtle, and one that’ll only affect previous Amnesia players. The storyline, yes, I did complain about it up above a bit, was a great concept. There’s very minor twists that are hinted at, and you have a notion of what’s going on – so when it’s revealed there’s a great amount of satisfaction in the discovery. Then you begin tying together the beginning of the story to where you’re at, realizing things you saw earlier in the game have a connection to what you’re seeing now; things that are so disturbing and messed up, if you’re anything like me you become giddy. I think the entire last hour of the game I kept saying “This is so messed up! This is so disgusting! THIS IS AWESOME!”. While the storytelling wasn’t as strong, or maybe as entrenched, coming up with your own theories, or even trying to flesh it out yourself can be satisfying in your own right. I was perturbed that they didn’t touch on things, but who knows? Maybe an expansion will come out? I will say, Mandus had some fantastic notes written and scattered among the world. Right before the end, I went back and re-read ALL of them. While reading them during the game, some of it made sense, by the time you hit the very end, it all clicks together and every single note you go “Ah HAH! That’s what he meant by that!”. I didn’t mind the notes being vague so much as the story as a whole, and it’s always good to leave an active imagination up to imagine the most horrific of things. Overall, Amnesia will be a good game for people who aren't thoroughly attached to the franchise. It's a solid horror story with beautiful design, gorgeous music and lovely voice acting. It will definitely entertain, and is well worth the $20. If it were more than that, I'd have to say "ehhhh", however $20 is a perfect price point for this. It seems like an overhauled expansion pack to say the least of it, and I enjoyed the time I did spend playing it. Die hard Amnesia fans may be disappointed, as I was, but for overall just playability - it's still pretty fun.
  6. Apparently you not only make the player the president of the United States, but also give them superpowers. Saint's Row IV is a bit of a departure, even from how wacky the last game got. The Earth is threatened by evil alien overlord Zinyak, and the player and the gang are abducted right out of the oval office. Being trapped in a simulation a la The Matrix leads to some interesting gameplay possibilities, as well as tons of awesome references. It's not long before you start getting super powers to play around with, and once you do, things change. A lot. I was pleasantly reminded of other power fantasy freeroamers like Crackdown and Prototype as I super sprinted, jumped over buildings, ran up walls, and glided through the air. I don't believe I even used a car more than was necessary for the few missions that required them. Superpowers Kick Ass (sorry about that one). All of the great humor is still intact, and maybe even taken a bit further. Saint's Row IV is chock full of references to movies and other games. At some points it almost feels like a grand video game parody similar to the recent Deadpool (even including a few metaphysical references), but Saint's Row IV still manages to rein it in with it's own crazy plotline beyond just hilariously exploiting other games. When choosing your character's voice during character creation, you are given the usual Male and Female 1, 2, and 3 voices, with the humorous addition of Nolan North listed by name as a seventh option. I really enjoyed Troy Baker's (Male 1) voice for the main character in Saint's Row: The Third, but the choice was obvious when presented with these options. There are even some funny moments where he breaks the fourth wall as a voice actor. When asked to continue causing mayhem, the player is asked to "Just be yourself!", to which a character with the Nolan voice will respond, "Be... Nolan? Ok." This breaking of the fourth wall again reminds me of his recent performance in Deadpool. This is not a glitch, disturbingly enough. Throughout the course of the game you are given plenty of new toys to play with. I will state outright that I loathe dubstep, but I couldn't help but find myself using the Dubstep Gun as my mainstay weapon early in the game, for how simply overpowered it was. It's a weapon that shoots out energy blasts in sync with the dubstep music it plays, and the track it plays can be changed by choosing a different skin for the weapon (all weapons now have skins that can change the entire look, skin, and sometimes firing effect and sound of the weapon). (Opinion) Hey dubstep's so bad you can kill people with it. Go figure. Later in the game you can get a weapon which launches out black holes to absorb and destroy all enemies in a certain radius, which when coupled with infinite ammo unlocked in the upgrades menu (as with the previous game), is a force to be reckoned with. Death by wub wub. What a way to go. The graphics are just as good as they were in Saint's Row: The Third. You play through a digital version of Steelport, complete with signs and billboards proclaiming things like "Obey authority", as if you are in the movie They Live!, while statues of your alien overlord oppressor watch on. I was a little let down that a large part of the clothing options seem to have been simply carried over from Saint's Row: The Third. The soundtrack includes many popular songs from various genres to hear on the radio as with the previous game and now an option to hear the radio while on foot, which is handy when you can run faster than any vehicle in the game. The soundtrack is once again often used to humorous effect to add drama and cheesiness to certain scenes. The sidequests in the game consist almost entirely of the activities you find on the map, from racing through markers with your superpowers, to insurance fraud, tank mayhem, and everything in between. The structuring is such that you are rewarded for doing particular sets of these activities with things like new weapons and upgrades for your superpowers, so you are incentivized to seek out these activities. Later on you can even perform special side missions for some of your Homies to unlock superpowers for them, which they can use when you call them for back up. Some activities are more entertaining than others. Speed Rift was one of my least favorites. The controls for both keyboard/mouse and controller worked perfectly fine and were well mapped out (and reconfigurable), but I had a bit of an issue with the weapon selection radial wheel. When using a controller you hold the B or O button (I used a PS3 controller on my PC) to bring up the radial menu and select your weapon with the left analog stick. This menu disappears the moment you release the button. On the keyboard you can scroll through your weapons with the scroll wheel or select them with a hotkey, 1-8 (or in my case 1-4 and Z X C V since they all cluster around the left hand on the keyboard). The problem is that using a scroll wheel on a radial menu isn't very intuitive. It rotates around in the direction you scroll, and for some reason you can't seem to just hold a button and move the mouse in a certain direction to select your weapon. Worse, even if you memorize which hotkey is for which weapon, tapping the button will always bring up the menu on the screen where it will hang for a full second, obscuring what you are doing without freezing time. It doesn't disappear nearly as quickly as when using a controller. One other thing that I wish was included, which hasn't been since Saint's Row 2, was the ability to replay specific missions. There are some fun ones that would be enjoyable to play again without having to manually keep a save before them or replay the whole game with a new character. A lot of the clothing options are reused from The Third, but you can still be creative (or make a blatant cosplay) Saint's Row IV was a blast to play. Some may say that it's hardly Saint's Row at all anymore (after all, I barely even used cars in the game), but it's gone in an interesting direction regardless. I'd almost say it's like a big parody of Saint's Row, in a good way, and somewhat a parody of games in general. The superpowers add a great amount of fun factor to the experience. Why spend 10 minutes driving across the city when you can hop over buildings and dash or glide over there in 2? The humor, the fun gameplay, and all of the awesome references make this truly an enjoyable gaming experience, and a great example of what can make a game fun without trying to be too serious (but don't worry, it still has its moments).
  7. This game has some amazing vistas! Metro’s story isn’t an entirely a new concept. Nuclear destruction wipes out society; society crumbles on itself and retreats underground to survive. Throw in a dash of mutants, terrifying and telepathic monsters known as the “Dark Ones”, set the stage in Russia with an economy based on trading military grade bullets and you pretty much get the point. Once again you’ll be filling the shoes of the previous protagonist, Artyom, although the storyline seems more focused on the inner turmoil and conflicts between various factions surviving underground as they look to control the weapons discovered within the military vaults of D6 rather than the perceived menace of the Dark Ones showcased in the prior game (Last Light assumes players experienced the “bad ending” of launching missiles to destroy them in Metro 2033). Last Light is incredibly beautiful. I’m not kidding you on this. Despite the slightly linear experience of the game I spent a great deal of time slowly roaming through the corridors and tunnels marveling at the attention to detail. In my eyes not many games create such an eye-catching atmosphere which sucks me in and really makes the surrounding environment feel alive. In a completely aesthetic point of view Last Light is breathtaking. Despite the linear storyline, the "towns" of people feel alive The PC master race used to joke about their rigs, often querying one another “Yes, but can it run Crysis?” The benchmarks previously set have been absolutely shattered by 4A games with their self-titled 4A Engine, and that’s not an understatement considering the optimum system requirements calling for GeForce Titan (which also currently has an equally titanic price!). Even ported over to console it’s amazing to consider how much can be squeezed onto an Xbox 360 or PS3 disc while still looking this incredible. Gamercide was provided a review copy for the PC and I can tell you that my now aging MSI GeForce 460GTX wept silently in a corner while running the game, although I most likely shouldn’t use the term silently considering the card’s cooling fan usually was running full tilt under the stress placed upon it. That’s not to say I had to turn the resolution extremely low with all the fancy effects like tessellation and PhysX off, but this is definitely not a title you can expect to crank everything to max and expect a reasonable frame rate. Last Light is also optimized really for Nvidia cards (AMD cards lack PhysX support). Although I played through the game on an easier setting (don’t judge me, I’m a horrible shot and needed all the ammo I could lay my hands on!) the AI from what I experience left a little to be desired. I understand stealth mechanics and remaining “hidden” when obscured from sources of light, but human enemies can almost be completely walked right up to and around. One would imagine that in low light situations you’d be able to detect someone who is literally a few feet away from you, but for some reason just about every single human enemy is in some serious need of corrective eyewear. I encountered some other minor gripes within the game as well. I’m not sure if it’s a product of PhysX, but while watching an entertaining performance within the theatre I couldn’t help but notice the “assets” of the female dancing line which seemed to behave in a gravity defying display of awkwardness. Additionally, just as I noted in Metro 2033, it seems that copies of Glukhovsky’s novels are scattered everywhere. In the first chapter of the game alone I found three of them and I found myself checking around in every living area to see how many more existed (there are a lot of them). It’s prominently noted during the opening splash screen that the game is based upon a novel, so why do these survivors of an apocalypse have the actual books everywhere? Would that make everyone in the game a prophet of things to come since they’ve already read what is going to happen to them? Why does everyone have a copy of the book? The game only hard crashed on me once forcing a restart from a previous checkpoint, but for a PC game in 2013 to have only one save game file is slightly unacceptable and I’ll tell you why. Partway through the game when I reached the aforementioned theatre the game saved a checkpoint. It’s a small area where the checkpoint saves for you in a hallway right outside of a tavern area. I walked into the tavern and discovered a non-responsive NPC that was standing with his back turned to me, frozen in time and halting my progress. A wandering ticket seller following his programmed path even kept walking back and forth straight through this mystery man barring my way forth. There was absolutely nothing I could do at this point as reloading the checkpoint threw me back into the hall only to discover the person still blocking further progress. I even reloaded and completed the previous whole chapter twice and encountered the same problem. On a third try I did find a small area I missed that had an “event” where I picked up a shotgun and was suddenly attacked by an enemy. When I reached the tavern that third time our friendly human barricade had completely disappeared as if he didn’t even exist in the first place. This was after over five hours of experimentation trying to discover a solution. I’m unsure if the scripted event had any effect on this or not, but having to replay whole chapters due to issues like this is frustrating. You can see the billboard guy clipping through the unknown NPC blocking the way Despite any issues, Last Light is engrossing and a joy to play. If you have a powerful PC and want to experience truly cutting edge graphics I recommend checking it out. Even if you’re unsure your PC can handle the crushing system requirements you’d be perfectly fine with a console port on the Xbox 360 or PS3 and could probably still say it’s the best looking game out at the moment for either system. Nuclear disaster has never looked better!
  8. Precursor Games announced that they are developing Shadow of the Eternals, the spiritual successor to Silicon Knights' 2002 Gamecube cult hit Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Shadow of the Eternals will be released in episodic format for the Wii U and PC only for a total of 12 episodes with each episode having about 2-4 hours of gameplay. Throughout the 12 episodes, players will follow the story of Detective Paul Becker who is investigating one of the bloodiest gang massacres in the history of the state of Louisiana where there are only two survivors. These two survivors will help Detective Paul Becker uncover the story behind the "Eternals" and span 2,500 years of history in Egypt, England, Hungary, and the United States, much like Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem which also hopped through out history while uncovering the secrets of the Ancients. Also like in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, players will see the return of the famed sanity effects that cause disturbances unlike any game I have ever played, even modern day titles. According to the official site for Shadow of the Eternals, details on the digital distribution of the 12 episodes will be announced at a later date, however they stated under the "Project Faq's" that they do plan to release the episodes sometime in the third quarter of 2014. via IGN and Shadow of the Eternals (official site)
  9. AirBuccaneers originally was conceived back in 2004 as a mod within Unreal Tournament III during Epic's "Make Something Unreal" contest. Now almost ten years later a new and improved standalone version has graced my PC's hard drive and I have to admit to you I'm completely hooked! There is just something so mind-bogglingly satisfying about taking to the skies in a hot air balloon of death and watching your enemies plummet to the ground in a fiery blaze after a hail of cannon fire. Original Unreal Tournament III screenshot. The game, while simple in premise, offers enough diversity to keep you occupied for a long time. Once you've selected your side, Viking or Buccaneer, you're thrown into a match and set off on your conquest to destroy your opponents and their ships. There really isn't any ground combat to speak of here, unless your enemies somehow manage to get close enough to your base to spawn camp you, so expect to spend practically all your time upon one of AirBuccaneer's four available ships. The fragile Kamikaze ship that explodes on impact. A balloon with no cannons who's pilot must maneuver through enemy cannon fire in order to bring down other balloons with a single blast. Generally piloted by a single player, although some brave souls may attempt to catch a ride with you leading usually to hilarious results. The single cannoned Cog ship. A small balloon usually reserved for two, helmsman and gunner. The mighty Battleship. This larger balloon, which I like to refer to as the "Party Boat", comes complete with a total of four cannons. A competent and complete crew can make this ship a force to be feared! The Flying Fortress. This huge floating island ship has three absolutely huge and devastating long range cannons. Unable to move unless using the "boost" ability, this ship is tricky to pilot and deadly when positioned properly. Yeah, I call it the "Party Boat" for a reason! AirBuccaneers is best played as a team game, and attempting to take on your enemies alone is almost always a recipe for doom (unless you're "that guy" who always takes the Kamikaze!). You'll need to coordinate with your team to make sure your balloon is manned properly. What good is your balloon if you don't have someone to fire the cannons as you fly? How are you going to keep your ship in the air unless you have a pal swinging his support staff (which I jokingly refer to as the "baby rattle") away to repair your hull? Those incoming cannonballs and air mines are going to put a hurt on you unless you have someone using their musket to knock them away! Feel like hopping off your balloon to attempt to board an enemy ship? Go for it! There are multiple roles to fill and they're all extremely important to your success. Thankfully the game rewards players with experience depending on the role you've been filling (Helmsman, Gunner, Support). Featuring a large skill tree that unlocks both Perks and Flaws as your fulfill your duties will keep you coming back again and again as well as encourage you to try your hand at each of the three roles. I really enjoyed this system of Perks and Flaws as it becomes a tradeoff of sorts for your abilities. Want to be able to pilot your balloon faster? Be prepared to take a Flaw also, like being a drunken sailor that erratically moves your balloon in various directions at the most random of times! It's a great idea and often times leads to hilarious results. More often than not my drunken Viking gets sucked into that damn maelstrom! I really only have two complaints about the game which are mostly minor detail stuff that hasn't really detracted from my experiences. The more major of the two is something I expected slightly considering this is an indie title. Occasionally they're just not many people playing the game. This makes choosing a server when you start something of a no-brainer and always going with the most populated one, although this tends to be a European one (Always Ireland it seems for me!). I haven't encountered really any lag so to speak that has hampered my gameplay, but it would be nice to have more options. The second complaint is the melee combat. Boarding enemy ships is something that absolutely without a doubt happen to you, and mastering the sword has been a problem for me. There isn't any hit detection feedback that I've noticed, like staggering your opponent or even being able to tell if you hit your foe or not. This leads to furious clicking of the mouse and fumbling around your ship. More times than not I get killed by this as I'm trying to pilot my balloon and I've learned that an enemy boarding my ship is a death sentence for me. For this reason I always try to keep my distance and rely on my ship's weaponry (although getting in close to unleash my flamethrowers is tempting!). AirBuccanneers is beautiful, hilarious, crazy and an incredible amount of fun for an indie game that is basically a rehash of a ten year old UTIII mod. It's not perfect, and no game is, but I'm going to continue to bark orders at my crewmates for many months to come! Speaking of barking orders..... FIX THE SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *screenshots rehosted from Google images*
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