Empiring on a new Rig

I finally updated my three year old dual-core system to a Core i7 920 @ 3GHz rig running an evga X58 mobo w/ a GTX 295 and 6GB of Corsair Dominator PC1600. Empire is running a lot better but I still get some lag on the campaign map. I've also been playing Call of Duty: WaW for PC since it came with my card, it's one good looking game. Well, here's some more pics of my Spanish campaign, damn natives keep stealing my corn!













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Just a Small Update


First of all, I apologize for not posting any pictures this time, forgot to run Fraps DOH! Anyway, ETW has consumed almost all of my gaming time since it was released last week. I finished off the RTI campaign and took a small break from the U.S. and started a Grand Campaign as Prussia since it only had 2 regions to deal with. Unfortunately, I ended up teching way too much and was not prepared for the rebellion that followed. I thought my huge armies in my cities could easily stomp the rebellion out but I found that my main force had deserted me and sacked my own capitol, promptly ending the game for me....

So I returned as the good ol' U.S. on their Grand Campaign mode and promptly cleaned house. I forced Britiain completely out of North America and have just dealt with the Iroqouis nation, obliterating them into smithereens, foolish tomahawk throwers! So that pretty much leaves me with 2 more Indian tribes to deal with (Spain had been overrun early in North America) and some French occupied regions in the middle of NA. I'm not sure how to deal with the other two Indian tribes as they are a huge portion of my trade income for right now since my trade routes are being camped on by Austria and Hannover. I'll be sure to take pictures of my next GC session.

BTW, I've been playing a few multiplayer matches here and there and really love how they've been turning out. I've had several extremely close victories and some complete and utter defeats (usually involving a mortar or two, or five). It's definitely more exhilirating seeing battle lines form when you know that someone else is controlling them and counter acting everything you do and vice versa, but I guess all MP games are like that. I plan on throwing a video together of some of the replays in the future. Well, that's all for now!
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ETW: Game Time 2

Continuing on from my last session, I raised an army of Line Infantry, a few canons, and some Dragoons and set off to recapture New York. I quickly found out how strong the British Line Inf could be, especially in hand-to-hand against my rabble army of Minutemen. I scraped by with some victories and recaptured New York but I quickly started to replace my Minutemen with proper Colonial Line Inf and carried on southward along the coastline. Britain kept their cities stacked full but I was usually able to draw them out of their fortified cities just by sieging them, so this leveled the playing field quite a bit. Meanwhile, the British kept harassing my small towns, farms, mines, and docks with small raiding forces. This grew to be very annoying but I found out that if I kept a light force in the area, they could easily intercept and defeat them via Auto-result.

I also had some trouble with Pirates blocking my trade routes with France, so I built up a small fleet to try my hand at the Naval battles (since my campaign on land was going very well). Needless to say, I definitely don't have my sea legs and the battle that ensued was a bit chaotic....and explosive. My smaller brigs were just being blown out of the water by these huge ships, especially the 5th rate SOTL the enemy Admiral was cruising around in. I have to hand it to CA though, it definitely feels like a proper Sea battle and looks amazing. I thought they would try and put some half-ass system in since this was the first time they added something like this to the TW series, but they did a good job with it.

So I let the Pirates be on their merry way (actually its more like they bitch slapped me and told me to go home), I hoped France would do something about them. At this point in the campaign I had completely secured the entire coastline and had amassed another army group in the North to help conquer some of the troublesome indian tribes in the area. This is when tragedy struck. While mother effin George was leading some troops in the North, he died of some sort of heart attack, sickness, or both. I think he was only 54 or something, I had a brief moment of silence before re-assigning a new general and carrying on. Long story short, I completely wiped out the Iroquois, kicked Britain out, and unlocked the U.S. for Grand Campaign mode ass kickery. The RTI campaign was fun but Im definitely glad I got it out of the way, it kind of stretched on for too long at the end.






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ETW: Game Time 1

Warning: May Contain Spoilers

So Empire: Total War just dropped on Wednesday, I ended up speeding through the rain on my way to Best Buy after work, rushed in and saw a meager supply of ETW and the Special Forces edition. I glanced over the extra features, extra units (ok), some artwork and campaign map (um..), and a documentary DVD on the Revolutionary War (sold! Love watching stuff like this). So I grabbed the copy and jetted home.

Like it or Hate it, you'll need to use Steam to play this game!

Installation

Normally I wouldn't comment on something as menial as this but ETW does take about 20 minutes or so to install on an e8400 3.6GHz system with standard 7200RPM HDD. The game comes with 2 DVD's so there is some disc swapping during installation (yuck) to produce a total size of 15.15 GB worth of HD space. The installation and your CD-Key are tied with Steam, so if you still don't have a Steam account you'll need to create one in order to play the game. After installation, Steam will automatically update your game with a patch (doh!), so after about a good 30 minutes or so I was finally able to get into the game.

I quickly sped through the tutorials and was kind of amazed with the lighting and models of the units. I didn't play the demo that was released last month and I had no idea what to expect as far as visuals go. The foliage also looked quite nice, although it definitely retains that Medieval 2 TW feel. I quickly engaged a unit and immediately saw my men raise their rifles and let off a thunderous volley followed by some thick smoke drifting upwards (AWESOME!). I checked out the Road to Independence Campaign which is kind of a re-telling of the Revolutionary War that you get to play through starting from when Great Britain first colonized America. This is a neat option since the the previous games didn't really have a historical story-centric singleplayer mode. Then there's the Grand Campaign mode, which offers the open sandbox type of gameplay the previous titles had. I didn't really delve into this singleplayer mode so I can't comment on this as of yet, I plan on going through this mode after I complete the RTI Campaign.

America, The Campaign. Hell Yes!

Americuh, FOOK YEAH!
As I mentioned previously, I had jumped at the chance to play as the Americans in the Road to Independence Campaign. It starts off by showing a cutscene of George Washington talking about the colonization of America and what had led up to the war. Then all of a sudden your dropped into battle with John Smith's men who look like bandits fighting off a small Indian attack. I clumsily fought them back, not really shooting them like I wanted to and just went in hand-to-hand, which I found out to be very effective for some reason against the Indians, I'm not even sure if I had bayonets or anything. Anyway, I played through a small campaign conquering poor little Indian tribes and unlocked the next chapter.

Next up was America's involvement in helping Britain clear out several key French Forts, one of them involving an assault from sea. This is where I started to see some of the shortcomings of the AI on Fort Defense. The French would leave a few units outside the Fort, for whatever reason, and would promptly get steamrolled by my mass amount of troops. The first Fort I attacked had no wall defenders, leaving the canons completely unmanned and made it easy for my men to rappel up the wall and breach the gates (this wasn't always the case later on in the campaign). Also, the defenders inside made no use of buildings for cover and mostly just stood in the center waiting to be attacked. I also noticed on some occasions the AI would just stand next to my troops without attacking them. It was still satisfying watching my men storm the gates though! I also got a little taste of the Naval battle as I used some Sloops and a Brig to take down 2 French ships. It was kinda cool watching the ships fire salvos of canons at eachother but I can already tell I'm not into the sea battles, I'm more of a infantry and hot lead kind of person. Still, nice effort here.

This is definitely not the Non-Smoking section!
So I finish up on the last French fort and found myself dropped into the battle of Bunker Hill against the Brits after another cutscene. With a small force of Minutemen assembled, several cannons, and mother effin George Washington, I set off to repel the Redcoats. Here, the AI did a pretty good job of kicking my ass. They took out a set of my canons within the first part of the battle, then followed up with some flank attacks. I lost alot of men and had few to reinforce my line with, forcing me to use mother effin George Washington to DO WORK!  It was a bloody mess of routing, charging, and scrambling about and I managed to take out a huge portion of their forces before all of my men finally routed. Come to find out, it actually turned out the same way in real life (I know, shame on me, it's been a long time since U.S. History people!) so I didn't feel too bad after losing the battle.

So now I'm knee deep in fighting against the Brits on the campaign map, pretty much opening up the rest of the game for me. They didn't really go into the researching tech tree or setting up your cities (other than the advisor) so I'm still learning all of that as I go, but for the most part I've already setup an alliance with France and have cleared out one British occupied fort, so far so good.

So yeah, despite the quirkyness of the AI at times, I'm still having a blast with the game and can't wait to finish off the RTI campaign so I can get lost in the Grand Campaign mode. I know the playable factions has decreased greatly which is a real bummer, but I'm definitely looking forward to the multiplayer campaign patch and hopefully some more factions (modded or official) in the future! I'll be sure to keep you posted as my campaign continues, until next time!

Gameplay Screenshots


Looks like someone spiked the tea.

War can be peaceful, see


All up in this house


More Smoke

The Rock's prison shower showdown scene comes to mind...


Looks like these guys missed last century's memo, oh no!


Ladders have been replaced with hook ropes


What stands out more? Red or White coats?


I lost over 150 men trying to take this house, no joke...


Nice volley of smoke to finish it off

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SF4 Madness

So Street Fighter IV came out this week and I've been really diggin it so far. I haven't played an actual fighting game since...I dunno, Shaq-Fu for the SNES? So yeah, you pretty much know how skillful I am in this genre. This game has been fun so far though, I've been mostly playing the Arcade Mode with Bison, Rose, and Guile so far and I've even tried to play a little online (Player Matches of course) but I'm still having a hard time executing ex. moves / super's / ultra's. I've been thinking about picking up a stick to see if that would make things easier but I haven't really seen any locally and I don't know if I'm willing to actually order one through ebay or online. Anyway, if you're looking for someone who's new to fighting games to spar with, feel free to add me on XLIVE, Gamertag is Onliner.

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Keep forgetting to post here...

Again, it's been awhile since I've posted on here so I guess I can bring this up to date a bit. September - October came and went with a flurry of games that I had to pick up. Brothers in Arms Hells Highway was cool, but in the end a major let down for me. Fable II was cool but I lost interest somehow and haven't touched it in weeks. Fallout 3 seems cool but haven't really got into that. Guitar Hero 4 is currently sitting in my living room as a huge paper weight (drums/guitar broke twice on the first day). And I think that's about it so far. Now Im awaiting Left 4 Dead to come out next week. Way too many games, not enough free time to play them all...

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Long time, no Update.

Well I planned to keep weekly blogs up on my profile but I kinda forget to do that since I have another personal blog running up on http://elephnat.blogspot.com . I finally was able to fix my server and pulled off a review that I was supposed to post online before it went down, you can catch it on http://youtube.com/elephnatproductions , it's an airsoft review so if you're into that, then go check it out. Of course, I picked up Spore for me and my bro and we've been playing some of that. Im finally seeing the huge community side of things with that game and its just mind blowing, great stuff.

Anyways I'll try and remember to post up weekly blogs at the least, you can also catch me and my daily posts on the other blog if you're interested. It covers gaming, movies, games, tech, other, etc. 
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Been busy lately...

Haven't really had as much free time on hand since I just got re-hired at my work. Umm, haven't really played anything this week except for some Madden 09. I'm not really a huge Madden fan but I like football games every now and then, so I picked it up. It's been good so far except for some quirky stuff like my receivers will run to the sidelines first after making a catch then proceed to head up field (or completely go out of bounds unecessarily) and stuff like that which gets frustrating at times. Other than that, I've been having fun with it and I like the idea of the game changing the difficulty sliders after every game so it always stays challenging game after game.

Other news, I just saw some Godfather II footage and it looks pretty cool. Ive been waiting for a game where you can manage a Mafia family for awhile now and hopefully this will be what Im looking for. I didnt like the first one that much, I just felt that Mafia had a better storyline and gameplay mechanics as a Mafia type of game. Anyways thats about it. If you're looking for constant updates from me or just bored check out my personal shared blog at http://www.elephnat.blogspot.com . We update that blog daily with gaming, tech, life, and other stuff thats amusing.

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Wal-Mart 360 Has Seen Better Days

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I came across this while searching for a new power brick for my 360, ironic enough. It seems that even the newer "Halo Edition" RROD proof. With the improved cooling and cooler running processor, this 360 still suffered from some type of hardware failure. Being that this is a demo station that RROD'ed (and a hyped up Halo edition to boot) this isn't exactly showing new console buyers the 360s strengths, although RROD's aren't new in the first place. I wonder how long that 360 has been left like that...
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