Developer: EA Black Box, Firebrand Games (Wii/3DS)
Publisher: Electronic Arts, Sega (Japan)
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii, 3DS, Mobile
Genre(s): Street Racing
Mode: Single-Player; Multi-Player
First Released: November 15, 2011
Played on: Microsoft Windows
2010 is done with Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and for 2011, we have EA’s street racing game Need For Speed The Run. In The Run, you play as a guy named Jack and you are a made-man, chased by some rich people for having so much debt, and there goes a racing competition that will take place from San Francisco until you reach the outskirts of New York city. Having heard of the competition, Jack decided to get in and settle all of his debts once and for all as his last resort, racing 1st. In the game, aside from driving, you will meet story sequences that will make you press something in your machine in accordance to what is shown on the screen. It is a Need For Speed Hot Pursuit game added with a story.
I finished the game just last week, and the number one thing I have noticed so far is that, the game is short, specially the Story mode. You race from San Francisco to New York from being the 200th placer and once you reach 1st, then you’re simply done. But anyway, before I tell you the real conclusion, let’s take a look at the graphics first. Below are some screenshots of the game while I’m playing Story mode, using none other than our favorite recording utility, Fraps.
If you have noticed, the car detail is quite impressive, a little better than how the cars in Hot Pursuit was presented. Lighting is quite nice too, making the terrain and the environment look much more captivating, also better than Hot Pursuit. If you have read my Hot Pursuit review, I told there that the game flawlessly works well, except the heavy loading times and the framedropping encounters during cinematic cuts. Well The Run loads faster but unfortunately, framedropping is still present and believe it or not, much more disappointing. There is also a large complaint by most hardcore gamers about the game.
The Run is heavily capped to render up to 30 frames-per-second only, so if you have Fraps installed and running, you’ll see “30” on your screen most of the time, plus the framedropping issue, even if you have the fastest GPU out there. Well, if there is a fix, then that could do but it sounds impossible for a release. Here is a video of a race with Mila and her sister (opponents in the game):
Anyway, going back to the graphics, there are so many cinematic cuts in the game. One is the presentation of the stages, let’s say San Francisco, wherein the game shows how the stages will look like, just like the picture below:
It looks good at first as it is just an image, but sadly, the real thing is that, when you are actually playing and watching the cinematic cut, you’ll experience a lot of framedrops, resulting for you to get annoyed and skip the scene (if you could, but there’s no way!). In fact, the scene is made in low resolution, lower than your native resolution, and I believe, lower than 1280×720 (coz’ that’s the resolution I’m using while recording with Fraps).
looks much better, with almost no framedrops and the likes. Good thing coz’ that’s a real rendering of your GPU, not a video being played in the game or something like that. Actually there are a few scenes like this in the game, so cherish every moment you’ll see heavy effects like this, ok?
Back to the cinematics, I am so sorry I haven’t had any Jack-moment videos. But why? Well, simply because those scenes are really made up of crappy rendering, heavy framedrops and… well, annoying storyline, so leave it just like that if you don’t wanna see a disappointment. Sigh, they even used Frostbite 2.0 for rendering the physics of the scenes, but looks like EA Black Box forgot about the quality of the PC port (good for you console gamers).
Sounds. I turned off the music and played my own playlist in Windows Media Player coz’ I thought EA messed up with the EA Trax since the release of Need For Speed Carbon, loaded with crappy music. Sound effects are satisfying. However, if you were watching the cinematics, because of the framedrops, you’ll end up with the word “disappointing”.
Other than Multiplayer, you can still play the game in solo in Challenge Series, which is also present in most recent Need For Speed games. There, you’ll race to complete lots of objectives and earn rewards or earn experiences so you can level up your profile.
All in all, the game is good, if you’re into a street racing game like me. Played the game first on my 2-year old custom Core i7 Rig equipped with a “still kicking former beast” ATI Radeon HD 4850, with very good performance (videos were taken using this machine), and then transferred all my savegames and finished story mode using my new 17.3-incher Core i5 and GT540m-equipped ASUS K73SV multimedia notebook (works flawless too!) the night when my girlfriend also finished the game called “Life Quest”. The contradicts are the 30fps limit, the heavy framedrops and very short Story mode, however, I still enjoyed playing the game for an estimated 3 days. It might sound like another disappointment to EA Black Box (after failing to attract audiences in 2009’s Need For Speed Undercover), but it’s a good attempt to try combining a racing game and an action game into one. Good game! Crappy features…
Again, here’s another video of the game, with Porsche 918 RSR and Shadows Fall playing in the background:
|> Shadows Fall – Redemption
Developer: Criterion Games, EA Digital Illusions CE, Exient Entertainment (Wii)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii
Genre(s): Street Racing
Mode: Single-Player; Multi-Player
First Released: November 16, 2010
Played on: Microsoft Windows
This is Electronic Arts’ street racing rendition of the Need For Speed series for the year 2010, just before the Christmas Eve. Also, this is the 4th game by Criterion Games (who were famous for making the Burnout series which I really liked). Need For Speed games developed after Most Wanted, from 2006 to 2008, including Carbon, ProStreet and Undercover, were all huge disappointments, atleast for me. After the fresh success of Shift back in 2009, EA decided to bring back the street racing and action together in a Need For Speed title, and because the Burnout series’ became famous for the “bumping and busting cars” element, EA put Criterion games to develop the new game instead of EA Blackbox. So what they did is bring a police story aside from the usual street racers chased by cops. This means that we play both as a cop and a street racer, and chase each faction to gain level and unlock new cars, missions, race locations and most importantly, race weapons.
It’s true. This Need For Speed game will let you drive the famous REVENTON car by Lamborgini. As you can see, the REVENTON looked exactly as what we can see it in real life (if you can really see it in real life). Great details and lighting effects. Aside from cars from Lamborghini, there are also real and concept cars by Porshe, Pagani, Dodge, Chevrolet (including the 2010 Camaro used for Bumblebee in the movie Transformers), and many more. But these are just cars. Let’s take a look at the graphics during a race.
Up there is a screenshot of the game during a Gauntlet race, wherein you are solely chased by cops. What I’ve noticed during gameplay is that, the game can render graphics as fast as how we enjoy a race. I cannot see any major bug in the game. AI is great because: your enemy racers are good enough to beat you at times, that makes you throw your controller or smash your keyboard down; your enemy cops can make you annoy most of the time. In short, enemy AI is well produced. I have no complaints on it. My GPU is ATI RADEON HD4850 with 512MB memory, and I can play the game at the very maximum settings at a screen resolution of 1360×768. I had no lag or framerate drop issues, and I believe I can still play this game in maximum settings with 1920×1080 screen resolution.
Next thing I noticed are a few bugs that, well, not really frustrating but just can make you laugh at times. There was a time when I was playing a Duel race and then my enemy racer crashed his car and stuck in an edge and after that, it does not move again. Weird but funny.
The game, as I’ve said before, made me play as both a Street Racer and a Cop, both with different profile management, both with some different exclusive cars as well as weapons to use. Weapons you can use during the game are: EMP – makes you fire the opponent in front of you; Spike Strip – if you’ve played Most Wanted, you know this already; Jammer – a Street Racer exclusive that can distract the race, turn off your opponents’ gps and weapons for a short period of time; Helicopter – exclusive to cops, can help you chase cars and deploy spike strips; and Turbo.
The console version (PS3, Xbox 360) have the ability to use custom music/playlist saved from the system’s hard drive, but the PC version lacks that feature. In anyway, that is not a problem for PC users as we can always turn off the in-game music and turn on our favorite media players, just make sure to reserve more RAM.
Also, the game includes Autolog system which basically is the menu of the game, features Online capabilities, specially if you have Facebook, it can send information in your wall feeds regarding your recent race, etc. Good idea? of course.
Because of these almost-flawless features of Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, I will, without a doubt, buy myself the PS3 version, just for trophies. Too bad there’s no 2-player split screen, oh well there’s online multiplayer anyway.
Below is a race footage I just recorded with Fraps earlier. It is a Gauntlet match and I have Slapshock’s Carino Brutal and In Flames’ Reflect the Storm playing in the background. Take a look:
Final Score: 9.5
Final Commet: “Action, Racing, Adrenaline Rush. All combined.”
|> Oasis – Some Might Say
Today, I have finished “2010’s Most Frightening Horror Video Game” Amnesia – The Dark Descent. I am satisfied. I have acquired the Good ending. I used a walkthrough by Adenosine from GameFAQs.
I found out that after finishing the game, you can access to some exclusive contents of the game such as Art, early concept designs, alpha stage gameplay videos and demonstrations. To access it, here’s what you do:
-Go to Program Files\Amnesia – The Dark Descent\redist folder. (In my case “Program Files(x86)” since I’m using a 64-bit version of Windows 7.)
-Find super_secret.rar. This file can be opened by programs such as WinRAR,
WinZIP, or 7Zip.
-Try to extract it. It will ask for a password.
-Copy and paste this password: lke271tyr299odn314
-The password is actually assembled. Each part of them, lke271, tyr299, and
odn314 are given at the end of the credits when you finish a game. You
get one of these depending on the type of ending you get. (I got odn314, since I have finished the game in Good ending.)
* If you downloaded your game from Steam and you don’t see the file called
super_secret.rar in the redist folder, they say you just have to restart
steam and Amnesia will be updated with the file.
-The super_secret.rar file contains concept art, designs, documents, and
videos involved in the game’s development.
Credits to Adenosine.
Anyway, here are the photos for the concept art, designs and the videos:
Here are the photos that you’ll find in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Amnesia – The Dark Descent\redist\super_secret\super_secret\art\creatures & characters\ folder:
Here are the photos that you’ll find in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Amnesia – The Dark Descent\redist\super_secret\super_secret\art\environments\ folder:
and I also uploaded the Videos through my YouTube channel:
|> BoA – Dangerous
Oh God, this is totally awesome. I’m starting to feel like everything is great. 13,000 hits after a couple of months ^^ Thanks to all of you guys, those that view my weblog once and those who always keeps in touch with it. I will try to work harder. I will try to not disappoint you guys. I have a lot of ideas coming in my mind and here are some things I will be working on the next few months:
-Software development news
-More Music reviews
-Better K-Pop information
-Wii (Dolphin) reviews
As I have said, I have a lot of things in my mind and those things listed are just four out of many of it. Just relax guys, I will be working on ’em soon ^_^ and thanks again 😀
|> 동방신기 (TVXQ) – Love in the Ice
Alright, so yesterday, I had a very good training day in ACI. Around 3PM, I was searching TipidPC for almost all my interests (PC parts, programming, and PS3 games). I found something really interesting. That is, someone is selling off his Dante’s Inferno! I got excited coz’ he’s selling it for 1.2K only. It’s Region 3 and the greatest thing is, it’s a Death Edition one. So i rushed up, sending the seller a message, inquired about the blu-ray game and ta-da! deal set. Around 6PM, training’s done. I remember I told the seller that the meeting place should be in Gateway Mall. He said he’ll be a little late so I should wander around the mall for a moment. I tried windows shopping at Odyssey record bar and saw a lot of my favorite K-Pop artists’ CDs. Also, I saw a lot of my favorite metal and punk bands in that record bar, and there’s even Lamb of God’s latest release, Wrath. There’s also some copies of Trivium’s Ascendancy, Faith No More CDs and other rock n’ roll bands. I told myself, isn’t it 7:30PM already? So, I came out of Odysey and tried sending another sms message to Sir remotecontrolweekend of TipidPC. Later on, I started to feel like I should pee for a moment. On the way to the nearest comfort room, I received remotecontrolweekend‘s sms message, and he told me that he’s already in Gateway Mall. So after pee-ing, I rushed to the Lacoste shop in the second floor. There, I saw a guy wearing an Almost shirt. It was him. No, actually, it wasn’t him, but he’s Sir remotecontrolweekend‘s younger brother. He gave me the Blu-ray then, I gave him my money. We had a little chit chat then…deal’s over. It was fast, and thanks to sir remotecontrolweekend of tpc again for the game. I was really happy back then and I really want to go home already.
Around 8:30PM, finally I’m home. I setup my PlayStation 3, took some caps of the game, and then tried playing it for a bit.
Developer(s): Visceral Games; Artificial Mind and Movement (PSP)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Writer: Will Rokos
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360
Genre(s): Third-person hack and slash, action-adventure
First Released: February 4, 2010 (AUS)
Native Resolution: 720P
Played On: PlayStation 3
My copy is Region 3 and is a Death Edition one. Dante’s Inferno was released with another special edition called “Divine Edition”, but it wasn’t a big deal though.
So back to the game, Dante’s Inferno is a hack n’ slash game similar to God of War series that is based on the poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. Believe it or not, I’m very interested of the poem, since 4th year high school. It was one of the “many” topics I presented back in that moment, that’s why this game will be very familiar to me. I’m so familiar with the story, and the Nine Circles of hell and some other things involved in it. It combines Greek myths, ancient Italy, Islamic and Christian beliefs as well as the Arabic ones. So it was really a twist to me seeing Dante in this game, killing the devils instead of just passing it by (as depicted in the poem) to save his wife, Beatrice with the help of is co-Florentine poet, Virgil.
This game was heavily compared to fellow hack n’ slash games God of War 3 and Bayonetta. Well, I won’t say anything since, I’m good with GoW series will love Bayonetta once I bought my copy. All I can say is that, Dante’s Inferno tried its very best, and I’m satisfied with it. I guess, it’s just that it’s hard to make competition these days, especially, GoW has already achieved a strong fanbase.
The Death Edition includes the Blu-ray game, redeemable code, digital artwork, commentary and interviews, digital English copy of the whole poem and some other minor things like the box art. I love how the packaging looked like. It was satisfying, though it was just a box.
Lastly, here’s a Youtube video of Dante’s Inferno together with Slayer’s Raining Blood playing in the background:
And now it’s time for my personal ratings:
Packaging: 8/10 – it would be better if they use material other than paper. If ever the Death Edition was spilled with some water, well, it’s ruined. So my advice is, to keep your box out of your sight a.s.a.p.
Graphics: 8/10 – not the best graphics but still it’s enough to satisfy the current taste of the gamers out there. It has a native resolution of 720P, unfortunately.
Sound: 9/10 – I love the background music, I think it’s just “OK” and appropriate with the game’s atmosphere. It wasn’t perfect coz’ I think the developer’s can still give us a better one, it’s just that they’re lazy (as said in other forums…). And it would be better if the thrash metal band Slayer is featured in this game, i’m sure this will rock, right EA?
Gameplay: 7.5/10 – the gameplay is a bit too simple, that Dante can only use that never-get-some-rust Death Scythe.
Story: 9.5/10 – The story is the number one thing that made me buy this game first over Bayonetta. Coz’ I’m a fan of The divine Comedy, although some people, and somehow me, thinks that the game ruined the story, still, it’s worth the watch.
Overall: 8.4 – Dante’s Inferno is a great game for you hack n’ slash fans. I’ really sure you would enjoy it, even for a while.
|> Slayer – Hell Awaits
Hi all..! Today I’m gonna let you join me unboxing and checking out my newest mobile phone, the Samsung SGH-F480.
Basically, this is considered one out of many iPhone killers in the market, and of course, if we say “killer”, that means there’s some killer features this phone has.
First announced on February 2008 and better known by many as the Tocco, this phone kicks off the market with a 5-megapixel camera and touchscreen interface. The 5-megapixel camera can do almost anything as a typical camera has nowadays, such as smile shot, panorama shot, etc. Also, it can record 15fps videos in QVGA resolution, enough for daily uses specially if you’re a blogger. There’s a service called ShoZu wherein you can easily write posts and attach images and videos to your blog straight from your phone.
Although it lacks Wi-Fi, you can still make fast web connection via its HSDPA function which runs at a maximum 7.2mbps bandwidth rate, fast enough to download new multimedia goodies from the Samsung Fun club service. This phone is equipped with HAPTIC TFT touchscreen display, that can render 256 thousand colors, plus a vibration feedback, so you’ll have to use your thumb instead of stylus, and feel the vibration feature.
The F480 uses a propriety software called TouchWiz. It is designed specifically for touchscreen phones so all you have to do is to get used to it. Video-call is there and a second front VGA camera is present, but does not allow you to take photos from it. The Audio player is built well enough. It can arrange your music catalog from Artists, Genres, Albums, Year, and so on, so make sure to always check your tags. The audio player can read MP3s and AACs, at a maximum storage of 16GB, aside from its built-in 226mb phone memory, via its MicroSD slot hidden to the left side of the phone.
The phone is as thick as a AA battery and resembles a lot like a credit/ATM card. This chic design is targeted mostly for female and feminine-like guys. Because of its small size, you can easily slip it in your pocket, just like a wallet. The F480 is generally considered as a younger brother of the SGH-i900 Omnia, as they share the same interface and most features, while the Omnia has a lot more such as Windows Mobile and a larger screen.
It came up with a free 2008 Beijing Olympics backpack. Unboxing the phone will give you a lot more included accessories such as an extra leather case and some more typical accessories such as the PC Suite, stereo earphones, USB data cable, etc.
After all, it depends on you’re everyday use. The TouchWiz has surely something it can show off, but to my experience, it is in fact as easy as what I’ve expected. Everything is user-friendly. The screen response is so great, but if you aren’t satified, you can always modify it via its system option. Although the lack of QWERTY keyboard is a downside, the built-in keyboard is still understandable. It fails occasionally but you can always cope up with it. Sending text messages can surely take you a few more seconds slower than a regular cellphone with a physical keypad. Well, that’s how touchscreen phones does. But at least it is responsive enough. Video playback can be best enjoyed to video files with a file extension of .mp4 and is decoded in Xvid (MPEG-4), with a resolution of 320×240, 400~1000 kbps bitrate, 44100 sample frequency and 192Kbps audio. Of course, there are some other alternatives such as the low-quality 3GP video files. However, the mentioned settings of MP4 video files is still my best advice, specially when watching movies.
The bulit-in web browser, NetFront, can do its thing well. It wasn’t flexible enough. And if you’re not satisfied then you can always download a version of Opera and Opera Mini, which is comercially free. The only installed game is Photo Puzzle, where you can also load your own photo from your memory with a resolution not higher than VGA. If you’re bored then you can try to download games via its internet browser.
What else is there? Bluetooth 2.0, yes. InfraRed? no. But if you want the real goodies, then just plug in your phone to your computer and start copying your favorite MP3 files, as well as good wallpapers and even movies.
The life cycle of this phone can be predicted to 10 years, well atleast for me. The hardware quality is good enough. The silver glossy finish looks so classy, but soon enough, like half a year, it will start detaching and will definitely make this phone ugly. But the time all of those glossy finish detached, soon this phone will completely be colored black, and it’s fine in my opinion. The screen can endure so much that it can resist some scratches and the constant tapping. The overall case is made of stainless steel. The battery which is Li-lon 1000 mAh can let you talk 250 hours until getting drained.
Overall, this phone surely is an iPhone Killer, atleast for now.
|> Slipknot – Gematria (The Killing Name)