hsvlad's forum posts

#1 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

Has anyone figured out a method for beating the Anti-Air side-op and getting the No Weapons challenge?

You literally can't use any equipment, no guns, no c4, no magazines, no knife. I thought I had cracked it by using one of the AA guns to destroy the other guns but that will fail the challenge for you as well. At this stage the only thing I can think of is that a bunch of the guards on that mission are carrying recoilless rifles so maybe you just need to run circles around one of the AA guns until they get collateral damaged out of existence. Then you've got to do that to the APC that turns up as well...

Has anyone thought of or found a better way?

#2 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

  1001 Videogames I must play before I die!


 No.0029 Mafia

I remember Mafia more for its small details then anything else. Neat little additions that made everything in the game feel that little bit more real. I also remember it having some of the hardest missions I remember playing in any game as a kid. The cinematic and serious tone set it apart from GTA 3 which came out the year before and Mafia almost seemed like an answer to the few issues I had with GTA, though it also forgot to bring some of the best parts with it.

The main thing Mafia got right, for me anyway, was the shooting. This is probably due to it being developed of the PC before later being ported to the PS2 and Xbox. This meant there was no lock on mechanics which I never really managed to get the hang of in GTA 3. One of the little details I mentioned earlier was that bodies, bullet casing and even spent magazines stayed in place (probably until a maximum number was hit) which left the environments after a shootout looking dirty and damaged. It sounds like a small thing but back then few games would do this. There were also some basic physics objects scattered around the world. Most were simply things like crates and trash cans but running over a phone booth to stop someone calling the cops would break into separate pieces. Its painfully simple by today's standards but back in 2002 it looked fantastic!


The story was standard mafia fare but it was handled very seriously, in stark contrast to the cartoonish style of GTA. Lots of the cut-scenes were just of meetings between the various mob family members which wasn't something you saw very often back then. The cut-scene budget tended to be saved for more action packed moments. This gave the story a certain level of maturity and made the tone of the whole thing feel very different from other open world crime games at the time. The missions were also nicely varied, going from assassinations to robberies to collecting protection money and keeping street thugs out of your territory. There were a few that were eye-gougingly hard such as one where you had to stand in for a race driver and win first place. I ended up having to find a trainer to beat it in my youth and I don't think I was the only person who struggled with it because all the trainers had options for beating the race mission. Also the first mission where you have to escape some pursuing gangsters is strangely difficult as well and took me about an hour to beat the fairly short sequence.

At the time I loved Mafia but it hasn't aged especially well. The cut-scenes that had impressed me so much are pretty wooden and the driving is a real chore. Much like Mafia II which came out in 2010 it really feels like the open world side of the game doesn't really need to be there and the map in the first game feels huge. This book ends most missions with some really dull driving, made even slower by the need to stick to the speed limit and red lights. The shooting feels slow and clunky by modern standards but is still the best part of the game. If you get the chance to play it I would probably recommend downloading a saved game if you can as the beginning is a really slow burn. 

#3 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

1001 Videogames I must play before I die!

No.0028 Ace Combat 6 : Fires of Liberation

Hey! I remembered this thing! The blog I mean, not this game as such. One of my new years resolutions for this year has been to write more as I really enjoy it and I'm badly out of practice. So I am determined to at least reach entry number 100 on this perhaps ludicrous mission within the year which means these posts will probably get a little shorter to enable that. Anyway, onto the game!

I've never played the older Ace Combat games and I only really heard about this one because some people got upset that the newest entry in the long running series was going to be an Xbox 360 exclusive and shun its traditional Playstation homeland. I played a demo and didn't really like it to begin with. The voice overs from other pilots were annoying and I wasn't really sure what my objectives really were. I was just thrown into an F-16 and told to defend my city, and that was about it. Eventually I got the hang of things. Shoot down the green boxes, open the airbreak while turning to turn quicker, don't crash, all that stuff and I started to really enjoy it. I probably played the demo mission about 20 times before I finally found a copy of the full game. That's when I got to play with the best part of this game. It's mission structure.

Each mission is broken up into separate operations. To progress you have to complete about half of them to turn the battle in your forces favor. Sometimes there can be as many as eight to choose from and they will all involve different mixes or air-to-air or air-to-ground combat. This means that without having to load a new mission you can decide that you're board of dog fighting and want to shoot some defenseless ground targets for a bit instead. You can't complete all the operations in a single go either and some of the later levels have so many that you could replay a mission but not repeat any objectives. For the most part at least, once the multiple operations section of each mission is finished there is always a single final objective that often provides a story twist. You'll start to see them coming a mile away after a bit. I remember more then once sparing one last mission critical silo from annihilation just so I could land and rearm before a predictable counter attack arrived. There are also loads of secrets. Some just unlock back story for the other units that fight along side you but I really enjoyed tracking down the hidden ace pilots in each mission to unlock extra paint jobs. It was a great way to make a really basic unlock feel like a serious achievement!

The story is a bit weird. I stopped noticing the anime weirdness in the actual plot fairly quickly, but between missions there are cut-scenes showing the toll that the war is taking on various people both military and civilian. They have near constant monologues explaining what is happening in an almost patronising way. At one point when a woman is fleeing a city while it is being invaded she see a tank sitting by a bridge with the crew hurrying the civilians across before they blow it up to slow the enemy advance. The tank crew tells the woman this, then her monologue tells us what she was just told. Later we see the same woman passing the burnt wreck of a tank and I thought to myself "That's probably the guys from before" and as soon as I was done she immediately told me just that! Whenever there is any kind of suggestion or metaphor, visual or spoken, it is immediately, explicitly explained like the character is a refugee version of Garth Marenghi! I actually think the cut-scenes could have been really quite good and moving if all of the narration was just removed. It would suddenly become really subtle and clever, where as it now just feels like the developers were terrified you wouldn't understand the motivations of characters that don't actually matter to the main plot anyway.

But for all it's quirks, I love this game. I think there are some other Ace Combat titles on my list and I look forward to trying them out. Especially since none of them are Assault Horizon which got rid of the mission structure I enjoyed so much in favor of hand holding and scripted scenes. As far as I know it was never ported to the PS3 but its six years old now so a cheap copy shouldn't be hard to find. If you like shooting things down whilst going very, very quickly this game will provide hours of fun!

So much for these being shorter...

#4 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

When have to travel I have an absolute blast with my Vita but otherwise I tend to neglect it a little. It's a shame you couldn't get Assassins Creed because it is certainly a better game the COD seems to be (haven't played COD yet, and by the sound of things I shouldn't).

#5 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -
Loading Video...

I was playing Dishonored last night and thought I had stumbled upon a cool, dumb little trick, but sadly it was not to be...

Really enjoying the game regardless but, Arkane Studios SA, you missed an opportunity here!!

::Edit:: Didn't think about this being Youtube spam when I clicked the "Post to Forum" button. I don't have anything more meaningful to say here so I guess it will stay locked, or get pulled down and I'll stick the video into a Dishonored Review if I get around to doing one. Either way, sorry Mods!

#6 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

Is the music at the start from one of the Homeworld games?

#7 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

@toastface: Yeah it would be great if the DoF in Garry's mod could simulate that. The way Gmod renders it is by rotating the parts of the image that are out of focus and blurring them together, it looks very odd buts its quite a clever way to do it. In theory it could create the bokeh effect you're talking about if it moved the image in a hexagon instead of a circle. It works great in Crysis 2 although it tends to exaggerate the effect a little.

It would be cool to see a camera realistically simulated like you describe. I'm supposed to be learning how to use Unity 3.5 for work so we can use it for interactive walk/fly throughs, I might look at building a camera simulation once I've got to grips with it.

#8 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -
@Maajin: Nope, no post processing, just all the settings as high as I could possibly push them lol. 
I don't want to do any post to them if I can avoid it, I want them to all be straight screen grabs. That's why there is no black and white here, cos I couldn't do it in game, although it's good to mix things up a little 
#9 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

In-game Photography

So after I last tried this, a few people got in touch with me with some recommendations and suggestions. I was shown a pretty awesome pair of Skyrim and New Vegas mods by Zelyre, but sadly I haven't managed to get it working just yet, but I'll keep trying. In the mean time I decided to take a look at Crysis 2. Using the impressive but staggeringly generically named "Quality Mod"  I was able to exaggerate the depth of field and because Cry-engine has per pixel motion blur I was close to being able to fake shutter speed but sadly I ended up having even less control of the images then I did in Garry's mod. It also doesn't help that the subject matter in Crysis 2 isn't nearly as interesting or relatable as HL2.  
Overall there is the potential for some amazing images to be pulled out of Crysis 2, but it's really not built in a way that makes it easy. A few of the more successful shots are below. I've also set up a Tumblr to keep this blog from getting too cluttered with this stuff, that last post was a million miles too long! 

 The main problem here, aside from the unavoidably sci-fi subject matter was that the image would automatically focus on the crosshair, instantly, which made interesting shot compositions difficult. It's a shame because Crysis has some absolutely fantastic DoF tech, not to mention motion blur.  
Anyway, my next target, assuming I can't get these Bethesda mods to work, will be Battlefield 3, though I doubt I'll be able to get much more then a glitched, hidden weapon and a console command to hide the HUD. Failing that there must be some Arma II mods I could look at...
#10 Posted by hsvlad (166 posts) -

@EVO: Thank you :)