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FAR CRY 3 - INSANE EDITION   *   23.05.2012
Ubisoft have released a trailer for the Insane Edition of Far Cry 3, and it is epic.

I am sure you have all grown to love Vaas just as much as I have, with him getting crazier in every new trailer we are getting. He actually might be the most interesting villain I have ever seen in a video game.



I like the Insane Edition just as much as I like the trailer. I think it has exactly the right amount of extra content - bobblehead (epic), survival guide, all the pre-order DLC, and an exclusive packaging. I just hope the price is right, because I would really like to have this edition in my collection.


MY STEAMGIFTS GIVEAWAYS   *   06.05.2012
I have discovered Steamgifts a long time ago, I have entered hundreds of giveaways, and I have created a few myself, but I am planning on doing more giveaways from now on.

All you need to enter, is to have a Steam account with at least 50 $ worth of games (retail prices count, you can have just a few indie games from various bundles), and to join my Hearselands United Steam group.

The first giveaway is Rochard. You have a week to enter.

Good luck, and make sure you check out the Giveaways section on a regular basis, to get info on all future giveaways.


MAX PAYNE 3 - THE DARK SIDE OF DLC   *   06.05.2012
Rockstar have announced all the downloadable content for Max Payne 3 we can expect in the coming months. To be honest, they have never disappointed me so badly.

Their games have always been all about singleplayer. Sure, the multiplayer additions are very nice, especially when it comes to freeroam, as they make the perfect sandbox games, but they are still just additions to what matters the most.

Max Payne is also a story-based game. Even though it is linear, I am sure we can expect a solid game from Rockstar. The multiplayer actually looks solid as well, especially when we look at how they implemented bullet-time. But is multiplayer the main component of this game? I do not think so. Now, how come all the DLC we can expect for this game will be for the multiplayer? I cannot begin to understand this.
Besides, who needs six map packs? SIX? Within half a year? How many maps will there be in the retail game, two or three? Unbelievable.
The thing that always bugs me the most about DLC is the pricing. The retail game costs 60 dollars on release day. That is God knows how many years of development, lots of levels, the whole story, models, textures, voice acting, and the actual programming code. All for just 60 bucks. Now, they already have all the development tools and assets, so you could expect that creating new maps should be very easy and cheap. If it is, then how come they want to charge us over 40 dollars for all the map packs? There will be a season pass available, but it will still cost 30 dollars. That is half the retail game value, and for what?
The only thing that seems interesting is the co-op pack, but judging from its name, it will probably feature a few short missions, which you have to complete rather quickly. Still, something to actually consider.

I also have to say, that I am not a fan of shooters where all we do is run around is shoot guns. That is why I do not play Call of Duty, or Medal of Honor, or why I have never played Counter Strike or Quake (MP of course). The first online shooter I fell in love with was Battlefield, on consoles, as I was never any good with a mouse. For me, Battlefield is all about vehicles, and that is why I love it so much.
With Bad Company, we got two FREE DLC packs, one brought back the Conquest mode, and the other brought a few maps converted from singleplayer. With Bad Company 2 we had the VIP pass (free with a new copy of the game), which unlocked additional maps over the course of 9 months. The Vietnam expansion was also brilliant, a completely new experience for just 15 dollars.
Battlefield 3 also has four DLC expansions planned (B2K already released, free for pre-ordered copies of the game), but can you see how nicely spread out they are? The first expansion we have to pay for comes out 8 months after the release of the game. And it will not be just a map pack. After Close Quarters we will be getting two more huge expansion packs, every three months. Now that is the proper way to expand the multiplayer component of a game. Huge expansions with new maps, weapons and vehicles, nicely planned out throughout the year.

We had absolutely brilliant DLC for GTA IV, which featured completely new stories, with loads of new content. 40 bucks, but oh my God was it worth it. I still believe that the GTA IV episodes are the best DLC ever made, for any game, and it will be insanely hard to beat that.
Then we had Red Dead Redemption, a nearly perfect game, with mostly multiplayer DLC. We got some new modes, some new (old) characters, but nothing that would change or refresh the game. Then we finally got a singleplayer expansion, with a completely different story. And who does not like zombies? Undead Nightmare was a very good piece of DLC, and at just 10 bucks it was a must-buy.

LA Noire did not have a multiplayer component, so it was logical we would only get singleplayer downloadable content. And we did. We got four new cases, some challenges and in-game items. Nothing brilliant, but for just 10 bucks it was all good value.

When I look at all these current generation Rockstar games, and everything they have ever developed, it really paynes me to see where they are going now. In most cases, DLC is a money hunt, and with Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games have officially joined it.
I cannot wait for GTA V, and I really hope it shows what Rockstar's games are all about.


DIRT SHOWDOWN - DEMO IMPRESSIONS AND RACENET   *   01.05.2012
The demo version of DiRT Showdown is now available, at least on Xbox 360. Along with it, Codemasters have officially opened their RaceNet community website.

RaceNet is a website where we will be able to view and compare our stats for all future Codemasters racing titles. DiRT Showdown is the first supported game, and we can already view our stats from the demo version.
We also have our first community event. We are supposed to burn a whole tanker worth of fuel in 19 days. I have no idea what reward we can expect for this (maybe a car or a livery?), but I hope we can do it.
The counter is at 1 % at the moment, but the demo is not yet available on all platforms.

Anyway, I am a big fan of this kind of websites. We have the Rockstar Games Social Club, we have the Battlelog, and probably others, which I am not aware of.



As for the demo itself, well, to put it simply - it is awesome!
I enjoyed all the gameplay trailers and previews, but actually playing the game is a completely different experience.

The amount of fun is so big, that it is overflowing. In singleplayer, we have a single event where we race opponents on the 8-ball track. I played the demo on the highest difficulty, and to be honest, it was rather easy. You need a bit of luck when crossing the intersections, but even if you crash a few times you can still win. The AI does not seem to be using boost either, hopefully they will address this.
Anyway, I enjoyed this race a lot, I have already played it like 10 times, and each one of them was different. I really have to compliment the handling, it is exactly right. No useless assist or pro-sim options. This is a proper arcade game, and it should stay that way. Drifting is really easy, and I just feel those cars perfectly. For me this is the best DiRT handling yet.

After completing the race and sending your friend a challenge, you unlock the multiplayer. This where this game really shines.
The demolition mode is insane. Total and complete mayhem. Brilliant. What might be frustrating, is that this mode is totally based on luck. It does not really matter what you do, but if you are in the right place at the right time. I managed to win my very first "race", and then I really struggled, even though I significantly upgraded only one car and stuck with it. I finally managed to score a second win after about 15 tries.
I came close a few times, but often I had no luck at all.
What is interesting about this mode, is that you can very quickly go from last to first place, and vice versa. But you need luck, no doubt about it. I do not really understand how the collision detection works, because sometimes a head-on crash will give you little to no points, and a slight scratch might give you a huge bonus. The wrecking streaks are very nice.
I experienced a lot of problems with the multiplayer. I was disconnected from almost every session after finishing a race, which seemed to coincide with the host quitting. This definitely needs to be fixed.
There were absolutely no lags during races, though, and that is very important.

The graphics are absolutely stunning. Beautiful colors, tons of details, good textures and antialiasing.
I experienced slight frame-drops in singleplayer, but it was nothing significant. I saw no problems in multiplayer, though, which was rather surprising, considering the amount of damage being inflicted at the same time. Great job, Codemasters! Not many devs can do such wonders with those ancient consoles.
The are only two cameras to choose from, which might disappoint many gamers. I am not a fan of the cockpit view, so it is not a problem, but lots of people might be very cross.

I have really enjoyed the demo, and I cannot wait to play the full game. I have not had this much fun since Blur, where annoying your rivals was the whole point of the game.
DiRT Showdown will bring me dozens of hours of pleasure.
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Top 5 Games:

1. GTA San Andreas
2. Red Dead Redemption
3. Fallout 2
4. NFS Underground 2
5. Fallout 3

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Top Games of 2016:

1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC)
2. The Division (co-op)
3. Forza Horizon 3
4. American Truck Simulator
5. Forza Motorsport 6: Apex