ypod's forum posts

#1 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

@Dietomaha: Before each race in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, there is an in engine cut scene that plays. Although they entirely use game assets, cool filters and physics are applied to make them look surreal. This explains the "cop wheel", which is in the video before one of the pursuit races. There is another neat one where all of the cars are floating hundreds of feet above the city - pretty neat!

#2 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

@FLStyle said:

@ypod: that's a poorquestion you chose and a moot point entirely. In no way would no multi-player change the campaign.

It wasn't meant to prove a correlation between the ending and the inclusion of multiplayer, if was more of a theoretical question. We all sided on preferring an enchanced single player, but that doesn't mean we're anti-multiplayer. We all play the multiplayer and enjoy it quite a lot. The last ten minutes wasn't necessarily the only thing we were considering, we were also disappointed with the stripped down mini games, glitchy cut scenes, oddly prominent fetch quests and the overly straightforward morality system. We shared the view that although the ending is bad, the rest of the game isn't without problems.

#3 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

We had a really interesting question submitted to us by a viewer. Do you prefer ME3 as it is, or would you have wanted a better single player campaign at the expense of not having multiplayer? We know that the two were developed by separate teams, but it's still an interesting topic to discuss theoretically. I would definitely discard multiplayer to get a more polished campaign, but my answer would be reversed for other series like Assassin's Creed. Curious to see what others think.

#4 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

My buddy Aaron has his preview of the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer DLC up at Hex19.com. You can check it out here. Thanks! :)

#5 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

The audio podcast I co-host just recorded a Mass Effect 3 podcast special. It features over 2 hours of in-depth Mass Effect 3 discussion, including coverage of Mass Effect multiplayer and the very controversial ending. If you haven't you finished Mass Effect 3, don't worry. The first part of the episode is entirely spoiler free; spoilers start just past the 42 minute mark, but there is ample warning within the episode.

The easiest way to listen is subscribing on our iTunes page, and it helps us out a lot! You can also use a streaming player found on our website here.

If you have questions, comment or any feedback, leave a comment here on Giant Bomb, or send an email to hex19show@gmail.com.

Thanks for listening!! :D

#6 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

This was originally a blog post over at a website I run called Hex19.

The start of a new year brings the start of a new month, which means yet another Halo: Reach multiplayer matchmaking playlist update. 343 Industries is continuing to gradually change the multiplayer landscape, and hasn't made any radical changes this time. I've had a bit of time to fool around in the revamped playlists, and these are my thoughts.

The biggest change this time around is the introduction of a new playlist, Squad DLC. It is a 6v6 slayer playlist that requires the installation of all Halo: Reach DLC. I don't understand why this wasn't introduced immediately after Premium Battle was removed. People like having a way to immediately try out the maps they have spent their hard earned Microsoft points on. I'm sure many people received points cards over the holiday break and used them to buy the map packs. These maps are playable in most of the playlists, but only if every player in the lobby has the DLC installed. Changes were introduced to the matchmaking algorithm in December to try to match DLC players more often, but the effect of these changes was not very noticeable. The Halo: Reach player base in each playlist is small enough that it would add a considerable amount of time to matchmaking search if this behavior was very strict.

Slayer Pro on Breakpoint. Noobs need not apply.

BS Angel (community manager at 343 Industries) clarified that Squad DLC is a playlist on probationary status, and will only survive if the population playing it is large enough. This angers me a little. I really like playing objective games on some of the new maps, and these are not an option in the slayer only Squad DLC playlist. The fact that a single DLC playlist might not even survive is frustrating. If there can only be one DLC required zone, I would prefer that it offered both slayer and objective gametypes, akin to Squad Battle from Halo 3.

The games I played in Squad battle performed as advertised. I was treated to 6v6 slayer, including Team Snipers and Slayer Pro, on a variety of maps from the Noble, Defiant and Anniversary map packs. It is worth noting that the skill level of this playlist seems to be slightly higher than most others. It is a more hardcore group of players that has purchased all the DLC, so don't be surprised if you have a bit of tougher time than in Team Slayer.

Grifball now ends once a team reaches 3 points.

My favorite change for this update has to be that the early win behavior for Grifball has been fixed. Grifball has always been a best of 5 rounds game, but Halo: Reach allowed the game to end once a single team reached 3 points. This eliminated a lot of useless rounds of play, that usually were devoted to K/D whoring and spawn killing. It made losing a less frustrating process, and didn't take any of the joy away from winning. For some unexplainable reason, this behavior was removed in the December update, and the game once again forced players to take part in all five rounds. I don't know why it took 343 Industries this long to switch back the setting, but I'm grateful that it plays how it should once again.

Although it looks similar, the new Abridged is revamped and improved.

The Abridged map, a community Forge World creation that often appears in the Big Team Battle hopper, has undergone some significant changes. The flag spawns have been moved, teleporters have been added to make traversal better, and it is now possible to fly under the massive bridge without triggering a kill zone. My favorite change is that the gravity lifts in each of the bases have been moved inside, which means that it is not possible to get floating vehicles permanently stuck in them. It was really annoying to have your Mongoose trapped 20 feet in the air when you're trying to drive a flag back to your base. However, I will miss noobs jumping into the lift, only to get instantly splattered by a hovering Warthog.

January also brings the slow spread of Title Update settings to more playlists. Team Arena, Big Team Battle and Double Team join in on the TU party, along with Team Objective, Squad Slayer and Multi Team, which were changed over in December. The changes include 85% Bloom, Armor Lock alterations, the removal of sword block, damage bleed through on partial shields and Active Camo modifications. I don't have a big opinion on full bloom vs. 85%. I still have fun playing the game on either setting, so I don't care too much about these changes. What I don't like is that the playlists are so fragmented, so I guess it's a good thing that the changes will eventually be on every playlist. It's confusing to keep track of what settings apply to each game. I'd rather have all of Reach be a consistent experience, leaving us only to worry about the gametypes and maps.

The rest of the changes in the update were just rolling out maps to playlists that previously didn't have them. Zealot, Countdown and Penance are now available in Team Snipers. I have no idea why these maps weren't in there before. I know that they're small, but that doesn't make them any less fun for sniping. Expect a lot of awesome no-scoping to be going on when playing these maps. Double Team has been blessed with the addition of two Anniversary maps - Solitary and Battle Canyon. Again, why weren't these added in last month's update? All of matchmaking was supposed to have a bigger emphasis on DLC, so why weren't these maps even available?

Infection. People play this? Willingly?

Living Dead also received a ton of new map variants for Infection gameplay. I'm not a big fan of the playlist, so I confess that I haven't given it a try this month. I don't understand why it is consistenly one of the most played gametypes in Halo: Reach. I prefer playing Infection with people I know in custom games, so it will be nice to have the new clever and spooky map names to use, I suppose.

In case you missed it, you can read about last month's matchmaking alterations here. Also, BS Angel has the full details of the January update over on the Halo Waypoint site for those who are curious. I want to thank 343 for remaining dedicated to improving Halo: Reach. Although their focus is on Halo 4, I'm glad that they're taking time to try to meet the needs of the current Halo player base, even if the changes they're making aren't exactly what I'd want. Anyways, I'm sure I'll be back in a month to discuss the February update; right now I have some Squad DLC I've got to play!

(Title Image by xRyderx Rgnt444)

#7 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

Here is a short video I made that explains how to get married in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I will be making some more tips & tricks videos in the near future. Thanks for watching, and best wishes to you on your wedding day! :D

#8 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

@wasteguru: Oh, okay. I just figured I'd post this to my blog, and it prompted me to attach it to a forum. I figured that would make sense. I'll make sure to do that for any reviews I do in the future.

#9 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

Last Tuesday, 343 Industries shipped their first retail product ever - Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Halo franchise, it features the original campaign remade with all new HD graphics, as well as 7 classic Halo environments remade for online play in the Halo: Reach engine. I've had some time to sit down with both the campaign and multiplayer, and this is my review.

As a preface to this article, I'd like to familiarize you with my history with Halo: Combat Evolved. I never owned the original Xbox, but that didn't mean that I was locked out of the Halo: CE experience. I've many fond memories of playing Halo: CE in friends' basements: making split screen legendary runs and pistoling buddies on Chill Out. I later purchased Halo for PC, which was my first foray into the world of online gaming. Seemingly endless games of CTF on Blood Gulch were a regular weekend occurrence. As a whole I've played through the entire Halo campaign 4 times, and spent countless hours in multiplayer. Since the first Halo, I always tried to get my hands on everything related to the series, whether it be the games, books or anime series. In the last five years, my most played games have been Halo 3 and Halo: Reach.

I played through the Halo: CE Anniversary campaign on normal difficulty. I figured that it wasn't so important to review the gameplay that I'm already so familiar with. I mostly wanted to get through the game to experience all of the updated visuals, as well as the new added content, such as skulls and terminals.

A graphical comparison of the two games side by side. The upgrade is stunning.

I have to state that 343 Industries has done an impressive work with the graphical overhaul in Halo Anniversary. Just minutes in to the game, the difference is overwhelming. The amount of work that they've done on textures, lighting, animations and skyboxes brings this game almost up to par with modern first person shooters graphically. All of this was achieved while still preserving the original CE gameplay perfectly. The artists at 343i have also given Anniversary a very unique visual feel. The art showcases vivid colors and high contrasts. It echoes the established Halo style, while being something special in its own right. The music is just as it was written for Halo CE, but completely re-recorded with a new orchestra. The result is a fuller and better quality sound throughout the game. If you prefer the classic music, that option is in the menus as well. The sound effects are also all new, and they make the weapons of Halo click better than ever.

Anniversary becomes a truly magical experience when you press the back button on the Xbox 360 controller. The display suddenly transforms back to the original graphics that the game had in 2001. It’s fascinating to compare how much graphical improvement there has been in just ten short years. Playing in original graphics mode is actually quite pleasant as well. It’s by far the best Halo: Combat Evolved has ever looked. The graphics are up-scaled to HD, and the game is presented in a 16:9 format.

Anniversary's beautifully animated terminals offer deeper insight into the Halo Universe.

I felt that the features 343 Industries has added to the game enhance the experience without taking away from the original game. Finding skulls and then activating them is a ton of fun, and makes the game slightly more re-playable. The terminals have been included in a way that they make sense within the Combat Evolved storyline. I found them to be less cryptic than previous Halo terminals. Rather than being obscure references to names and places most people haven't heard of, they actually reveal some interesting new details about the Halo timeline, as well as some possible Halo 4 hints.

There are some bonus features included in Halo Anniversary that I did not get to try. I don’t own a Kinect, so I couldn’t access the “Analyze/Encyclopedia” or voice control features. Also, I don’t own a 3D television, so my gameplay was limited to 2D. I did see a demo of the 3D at PAX; it looks good, but it didn’t make me want to rush out and purchase a new TV. What I can confirm is that these extra features are not at all required for enjoyment of the game. I haven't yet tried campaign co-op online, but Glenn Meyer and I played some split screen co-op and it functioned as expected.

This ain't your daddy's Halo LAN. The multiplayer component of Halo Anniversary uses the Reach engine.

I have seen a lot of hate directed towards the multiplayer side of Anniversary, and I can understand some of it. There definitely is a market of gamers that want to re-experience the original Halo multiplayer. I think the decision to go with making more Reach maps is neither a great one or a bad one. Many people associate Halowith that classically overpowered magnum and the steep cliffs of Blood Gulch, neither of which are in this title. The simple shock that the multiplayer is a completely different game might be a major turn off.

Utilizing the Reach engine for multiplayer wasn't without its advantages. First off, the multiplayer in CE is a little dated now. First person shooter games have progressed a ton in the last ten years, and have become more balanced, exciting and fun. I don't think that original Halo multiplayer would hold up as well to repeated playings when there are superior products on the market. The nostalgia factor is undeniable, and it would be really awesome for a while, but there is a reason that newer games are much more popular today. Having all the strengths of the Reach engine at your side is also a huge plus. All of the maps are editable in Reach's forge mode, saved films work as usual, your stats are all still logged automatically on Bungie.net, and you get to play with probably the best netcode in all of video gaming. It's stuff that you don't think of right away, but it's a huge deal.

The new "Anniversary” gametypes are an interesting twist on Halo: Reach multiplayer. They feature tweaks to the weapons (mainly the pistol), and player attributes that make the game play a little bit more like Combat Evolved. It's still very far from that original gameplay experience, but I liked it for a little change of pace. The blend of slayer and classic objective gametypes evoked a ton of excellent memories from previous iterations of the included maps. Default Reach set ups are also playable in the new playlists, and they are just as fun as Reach has always been.

Hang 'em High is one of the most satisfying multiplayer maps ever created. Now it's also one of the most gorgeous.

I have a somewhat unique opinion, because I believe that Halo: Reach is the beast multiplayer FPS of all time. As a result, I'm very glad to have more maps to play with, especially layouts that I've come to adore so much over the years. I really enjoyed playing Reach on the new maps. Both Timberland and Headlong provide premium "Big Team" experiences. Hang 'em High and Battle Creek are among the best maps for 4v4 ever created. Damnation and Prisoner play exactly as they should. It was also nice of 343 to include slightly altered variants of their maps featuring some extra passage ways and tunnels, but it's nothing that a little forging couldn’t have accomplished, albeit a little uglier. Halo geeks will get a little kick

out of the names of the maps, as they match the theme of the original maps. For me this game has injected some new excitement into the Halo: Reach sandbox, which I was already having a great amount of fun with many times a week.

Installation 04 brings co-op Firefight action to the ring world where it all started.

The single new Firefight map, Installation 04, is pretty standard co-op fare. I'm actually a little surprised that they hadn't turned this exact forerunner structure into a Firefight map earlier, as it's one of the most iconic structures in all of Combat Evolved. AI controlled marines are a new addition, but they don't really have much of a noticeable effect on gameplay. Occasionally an Elite will chase after one, allowing you to snag an easy assassination.

The technical way that the Anniversary disc functions is actually a really cool trick. When you launch into the disc, campaign functions as any other Xbox retail title, but when you select multiplayer, you're actually transported into a miniature version of Reach. Your Xbox Live status reflects the fact that you are playingReach, and you can join Halo: Reach parties regardless of whether or not the other members are playing from the Anniversary disc. You even have access to the newly updated Halo: Reach achievements. The only way it differs is that you only have access to play the subset of maps that are bundled with Anniversary, and the playlists that support them (it also has a slick new background image).

Kill the Reds! Kill the Reds! Kill the Reds!Included in the box is also a code that can be used to download the new maps to your hard drive, so they can be accessed by Halo: Reach. Doing this is the best way to play the new maps, as it integrates them seamlessly into your current Reach experience. If you don't already own Reach, I'd recommend picking it up, as you can find it now for bargain bin prices.

Overall, I believe that Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a must own product for any Halo fan. If you’ve never enjoyed Halo, this game isn’t going to change your mind. If you’ve never tried the original Halo or if it’s just been so long that you’ve forgotten about it, Anniversary is a worthwhile purchase, especially at 40 bucks. It's not going to command a lot of attention during this year's crowded holiday game season, but it's a solid game and I have no major complaints.

by Yuri Walkiw - Hex19.com

#10 Posted by ypod (53 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan said:

LittleBigPlanet 2 was incredible. I will not allow anyone to call it forgettable! I will go get Larry Da Vinci and a camel robot and mess you up!

I didn't say it wasn't a great game. I was just pointing out that lots of people have probably forgotten that it came out this year. I've got nothing against the game or the series.

@BeachThunder said:

I honestly cannot think of any games that have been forgettable.

Hmmm, I wonder why... :P