7 Days To Die – Liars & Thieves

7 Days To Die

If you have read my previous articles about the zombie survival crafting game 7 Days To Die, you’ll know that I have in the past, warned players of the exposure to insecure multiplayer lobbies and recommended private solo or co-op play. I recently stepped into the realm of this hacker demolished, stranger infested world and thought I’d share my recent experience and warn the fellow survivors out there on just how relentless this world can really be.

I joined a lobby in which I was greeted by a few friendly survivors in the chat, things started off pretty well. I was skeptical at first, seeing as it was my first day, I had minimal resources but because it was early days I thought to myself, “little to lose, much to gain…”

After some distant looting and friendly chatter, I met up with the survivors who escorted me to an enclosed location hidden by a sea of maple trees which were planted personally by themselves to shelter their home from unwanted persons or hackers. On my journey to this location I finally saw what hackers were capable off when passing buildings that were completely obliterated, rubble and materials scattered all over the place along my travels. If there was one positive outlook I could take from it, it kind of made the world look that much more run down in the event of an apocalypse.

When we arrived their base was this enormous iron and concrete blockade that stretched over a stream, surrounded by rows of reinforced log spikes. It was essentially an impressive exterior that masked its real interior which was actually an underground shelter that burrowed deep into the earth for miles. They declined entry which I understood completely, I didn’t really want to go inside anyway as I didn’t trust them all that well either. They supplied me with some food and water and other supplements and I thanked their generosity. It was better to be on their good side and they seemed like a friendly bunch so I asked if I could set up camp nearby which they agreed to.

Over the course of the next few days I began building my little shack on the outskirts of their forest and planted my own trees to mask my own. I had built a wall to enclose my garden and I was at the height of my self sufficient lifestyle. The nights were tough, I’d got into the routine of shutting off all the light from torches and campfires and had to sit quietly in my shack while listening to the herds of running zombies pass by, each time hoping they wouldn’t sense me and begin tearing down my walls.

Things were going good for a while, I made friends with a guy who lived a stone’s throw away on the other side of the nearby lake. We exchanged items, helped build our homes and even went on scavenging trips together, but then things started to change…

After a while I noticed that these friendly players weren’t online as often, I sometimes wouldn’t hear from them for a week and the population of unfamiliar survivors joining the lobby was increasing. One night I had logged back into the server to find that my home had been completely ransacked, most of my supplies were gone, a hole in the roof leading to piled dirt on the exterior of my home all pointed in one direction, I’d had a break in while I was away…

One late afternoon I was startled by the sight of two unfamiliar stragglers wandering the fields nearby. I was some distance from my home but it was in sight, they stood between me and my shack. I kept my head down but one of them spotted me, I tried to run for the hilltop and circle my way around but I didn’t stand a chance against their sniper rifle.

I had been killed for the first time, we were weeks into the server, Day 42 if I recall correctly. When spawning back in my bedroll I popped my head over the wall, they were moving off into the distance. At this moment I was blinded by sheer rage and drained from the solitary despair of going through it alone for over a week. I ran over to my backpack, no… could it be? They had taken only my guns and ammunition. It was late, nightfall would soon come but I sought revenge at all costs.

Equipped with only my knife and crossbow, I trudged through murky rivers and scaled steep valleys tailing them, hoping they would lead me back to their camp, all while avoiding contact with the masses of scattered zombies and dogs around me. For a moment I thought I had lost them, but then I heard the distant clanking of a forge. I followed the sound, narrowly escaping the clutches of the undead until I stumbled across a walled off area with four tall apartment complexes within its walls. This was big, not as impressive as my deserted friends’ underground design but of a similar scale. That’s where I spotted one of them across the fields, eyes down his sights but not at me, I took aim, I had to make the shot count so I waited for him to remain still, I took the shot, instant death.

With no sign of his buddy I began looting his bag and taking his rifle among other necessities to fuel my thirst and hunger, I marked the location on my map and returned home. I had become as bad as they were, a thief among thieves. The following morning I went to their location, the player had left and this was my chance to retrieve the rest of my belongings. As I broke into the premises I found most things to be locked and I all I could take was their corn and potato field they had planted on the roof. Another player joins the came, I immediately hear movement outside and it turns out this base doesn’t belong to my enemy but rather another victim of his devious thievery…

I had to leave my home behind after it had been further destroyed by more looters and thieves. I went on to scour the world alone with limited resources, ultimately leading to multiple near death experiences and the harrowing experience of wandering the world alone.

It’s amazing how another person’s actions can cause you to change your way of behavior, especially in a video game, where their behavior has no real consequence to their life and to see the lengths people will go to to get what they want. This is one of my many experience in the world of 7DTD that made me feel like I was living out an episode of The Walking Dead and other popular cult apocalyptic movies. It was then that I truly learned the meaning of the show’s Season 3 slogan ‘Fight the Dead, Fear the Living.

The VGamerZ Monster Files: Blanka (Street Fighter)

Blanka

No offense, Blanka, but look at yourself. Welcome to The Monster Files, you big ol’ ginger man-beast.

This feral fighter has been a Street Fighter icon since his introduction in the second release. From the start, he stuck out like a huge, green sore thumb, which was just what Capcom intended. His backstory, even by fighting game standards, is all kinds of nuts.

Blanka was once human, but mutated following a plane crash in Brazil as a child. This, apparently, turned him green, as well as granting him the power to generate electricity in his body. It makes perfect sense, I’m sure, if you’re a Marvel superhero.

But crazitude aside, these traits are highly useful in combat. Blanka doesn’t fight traditionally, unlike Ryu with his shotokan karate or Chun-li’s Chinese martial arts. His attacks are brutal (that biting your darn face right off grab of his in particular), powerful, unpredictable and wild. If you’re familiar with the character, you’ll know that he plays unlike just about any other character in the genre.

Blanka 2

He’s best known, of course, for that infernal electricity. By simply mashing the button, you can generate a short-range shock field which will electrocute any fighter who makes contact with you. This is his signature move, and you’re crouched immobile while performing it, but it’s a huge pain for jump-ins and cements Blanka’s reputation among the most vicious of Street Fighter stalwarts.

Another trait that sets him apart is his mobility. While not especially fast-moving, per se, Blanka’s character-defining spinning attacks let him also cause trouble when you think he’s at a safe distance. These let him roll into a ball and ‘dash’ forward Sonic the Hedgehog-style. It’s another manoeuvre unlike anything else in the game.

Naturally, all of the fighters were designed to look, feel and play as differently as possible. To get that whole world fighting championship feel, you need to be able to contrast Zangief’s slow, devastating wrestling moves with Vega’s swift, elegant ‘Spanish ninja’ techniques. But even so, Blanka was –in more ways than one– the wildcard. His unique design has endeared him to fighting game fans everywhere.

The Witcher Character Profile: Triss Merigold

Witcher

Triss Merigold of Maribor is a sorceress and the main protagonist Geralt of Rivia’s close friend, and lover in The Witcher games. She is also a close friend to Geralt’s main lover through the books, Yennefer of Vengerberg. Triss is in love with Geralt and is very jealous of the relationship which Geralt has with Yennefer, even though the bond they share is very complicated.  Triss took it upon herself to act as a motherly/sisterly figure to Ciri during her time at Kaer Morhen (the witcher stronghold), where she looked after her and helped the others there to treat her as a growing woman, as opposed to a witcher-to-be, because of this Ciri wasn’t subjected to any mutations.

At the beginning of the books it was thought that Triss had died at The Battle of Sodden Hill, where it was thought that fourteen of the twenty-two mages who had been fighting the Nilfgaardian army had died. Hence this was why she was named as the “Fourteenth of the Hill”.

During Blood of Elves, Triss falls ill and Geralt and Ciri help  nurse Triss back to full recovery, but even though Triss is a sorceress she is allergic to magic and therefore she couldn’t administer any of her magical potions to make herself better and had to rely on more conventional means of medicine. Although she is not allergic to magical amulets.

After the Thanedd Coup, which occurred when mages employed by Nilfgaard had planned a surprise attack on the northern mages while at a planned reunion on Thanedd Island, the Brotherhood of Sorcerers disbanded and six weeks later the Lodge of Sorceresses was formed by the mage Philippa Eilhart and Triss Merigold was a founding member. She was also on King Foltest’s royal council.

Triss will be in the upcoming witcher game  – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Triss in The Witcher (Game Spoilers)

Geralt of Rivia is first found in the woods near Kaer Morhen after being thought dead, and Triss is one of the first people who he meets, even though he has no past recollection of her or anyone else due to his amnesia. The Salamandra (a criminal organisation throughout the first game led by Azar Javed) then attack Kaer Morhen and Triss helps fend them off, albeit unsuccessfully as they steal the witchers secrets to their mutagenic substances and Triss is left seriously wounded. Geralt then makes Triss a special potion to help her fully recover, even though in the books Triss is allergic to magic potions and can only use magic amulets to recover herself.

After a battle with the Salamandra leader Azar Javed in the swamp later in the game Triss nurses Geralt back to full health at her home in the city.

Later on during the game Geralt has the option to choose Triss to look after Alvin or whether  to have Shani look after him. If Geralt let’s Shani take care of Alvin then Triss decides that he doesn’t trust her and is very angry at him. However if Geralt allows Alvin to stay with Triss then she takes this as a sign of trust and it only deepens their relationship. Triss hopes that when Geralt finishes dealing with the Salamandra that they can raise Alvin together and have a relationship together.

At the closing stages of the game, Geralt goes to kill Jacques de Aldersberg (the Grand Master of the Order of the Flaming Rose) and Triss offers to help, but she is fooled  by Geralt into leaving while he goes to kill Jacques. When Geralt appears in the visionary ice plains a vision of Triss appears and she helps Geralt go after him.

Triss in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Game Spoilers)

Triss begins the game as Geralt’s lover, and the two are in a relationship and have plans to leave King Foltest’s court once the situation with the La Valette’s is dealt with. However, with the death of King Foltest their plans were scuppered as Geralt was framed for his murder.

In the first chapter Triss can be found in Flotsam staying with the Blue Stripes, a Termerian special forces unit lead by Vernon Roach. Her relationship with Geralt deepens during their time in Flotsam and the two of them spend some time alone in the elven bath’s, where Triss says “I forgot all about Flotsam, the Scoia’tael, the kingslayer, the whole world really…”.

At the end of the first chapter, Triss is kidnapped by the real kingslayer Letho, where he forced her to teleport both of them to Aedirn. She isn’t seen for the rest of the game until she is rescued.

If the player chose Roach’s path, they could have chosen to rescue Anais La Valette or Triss. If they chose to save Triss then they would have had to fight through a Nilfgaardian camp and rescue her from captivity there, where she was being tortured. If they chose to rescue Anais, then Triss would have been saved by Letho, the one who kidnapped her.

If the player chose Iorveth’s path, then they could have chosen to rescue Triss or to help Philippa lift a curse off of Saskia. If they chose to save Triss then they would have fought through the Nilfgaadian camp to rescue her from her captivity. If they chose to help Philippa then Letho would have saved her. Triss is fine rescued no matter what path is chosen.

Twitch Streamers Haven’t Stopped Getting Swatted

Twitch

A few days ago, popular video game streaming service Twitch announced its first ever convention, Twitchcon, will take place in September in San Francisco. The event will apparently be co-produced by Twitch and ReedPOP, the producers responsible for events like PAX and Comicon. Twitch is emphasizing the convention as an opportunity for fans to see their favourite broadcasters in live events, as well as for fans and creators to mingle. In a blog post about the event, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said “Twitch broadcasters have the most passionate fans, so we want to create an amazing experience where they can come together in person… TwitchCon will be an opportunity for the entire community – broadcasters, game developers, viewers, and us – to play and learn together.”

Shear is right – Twitch can be an “amazing experience” – but there’s another side to the Twitch community that its CEO probably doesn’t want advertised. In August 2014, popular streamer Jordan Mathewson, who is known online as Kootra, was in the middle of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive when police stormed into his stream. In the video, which can be seen here, Mathewson is in the office from which his company, Creatures LLC, operates. After he hears some noise from outside, he says, “I think we’re getting swatted,” shortly before police enter and throw him onto the ground. He is searched, patted down, a little while before the police notice the camera and shut off the stream.

What did Mathewson do to get himself into so much trouble? As it turns out, nothing at all. Mathewson was a victim of swatting, in which a hoax call is made to police reporting a serious crime occurring at the streamer’s location. The troll makes the phone call, and then sits back and watches their victim raided by police live over Twitch. Although swatting had been going on for celebrities for a while, it was around this time swatting video game streamers took off. How are these trolls able to trick emergency forces into raiding random people’s homes? It turns out it’s not that hard. All they need are their target’s phone numbers, easily acquired through a range of methods, and their approximate location. From that point on, the attacker can find websites where they can download programs that mask their caller identity to make their calls appear to be coming from another number. There are even apps they can get for their phones that help obscure their real phone number from identification. Overall, the act of swatting somebody is quite simple, but while some would call it a prank, that word seems a little too soft considering some of its consequences.

It’s been 8 months since Jordan Methewson was the victim of swatting, but not much has changed. Swatting incidents have become more and more frequent on Twitch, with the trolls responsible rarely caught. And it’s far more serious than childish internet pranks. For one thing, swatting wastes police time and money that could be spent preventing real crimes. And for another, it’s often incredibly dangerous for the person being swatted. SWAT raids are some of the most dangerous work police carry out, so depending on the location they often come heavily armed. Couple that with the possibility that innocent people having their homes raided may try to defend themselves, and it’s easy to see how accidents could occur.

Last month, a professional Runescape streamer called Joshua Peters, known as KoopaTroopa787, fell victim to swatting. Only instead of the 27-year-old streamer answering the SWAT team’s knock, it was his 10-year-old brother. An emotional Peters returned to the stream after 15 minutes to say, “Your gripe is with me so let it be with me and do not involve my family in any way, shape or form with this… They could have been shot, they could have died because you chose to SWAT my stream.”

Not every swatting results in the appearance of an actual SWAT team. Depending on jurisdictions, some police services will only send a couple of officers to check out a situation. It seems to be most common for American streamers, where many police departments have, over recent years, received funding for upgraded gear. While some place blame for swatting squarely on the trolls, many others also blame police departments for being too heavy-handed in their responses. In this Vice documentary, we see a police department in a “low crime” area equipped with, among other things, a $400,000 armoured truck. With police increasingly using this paramilitary equipment in raids, including non-violent raids for things like drug offences, it’s easy to see why some people think police are also partly responsible.

The trolls responsible for these raids often go unpunished. A combination of a modicum of hacking skills and a lack of cybersecurity experts in many police departments means they are often never caught. But there is hope. Just last month, a 19-year-old named Brandon Wilson, or Famed God, was arrested in Nervada over a July swatting incident. He’s not the first swatter to be caught, either. Police are becoming more aware of the presence of swatters and are slowly getting better at bringing them to justice.

If you’re a streamer and you’re wondering what you can do to avoid being the victim of swatting, there are some simple precautions you can take. Don’t give away your address or phone number to any service that doesn’t need it. Make sure your password isn’t “1234” and change it every so often. If you want to go the extra-safe mile, you can also get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to mask your identity.

Retro Corner: Space Invaders

Space Invaders

Space

Aliens, as we know, generally get a bad rep in video games. Did Gears of Wars’ Locust horde come in peace? They did not. They came in a limb-loppy, face-shooty fury. Then there’s the Covenant, which consists of several species; all of whom rate pretty highly on the douche-o-meter. Or how about the Timesplitters? Or the Greys from Destroy All Humans!? The clue’s in the title there.

In sum, extra-terrestrials are not our friends. They do not befriend lonely little urchins called Elliot, perform heartwarming glowy fingered gestures, or phone home. And if they ever do phone home, it’s only to arrange some mail order weapons of mass destruction to vaporise us with.

So you’ll forgive humanity for being a little hostile back. Over the years, aliens have been gunned down en masse in video games. Even more so than zombies, and that’s saying something. Today, we’re tracing all of this back to the original outer space menaces: the space invaders. Of, y’know, Space Invaders.

Space Invaders 2

The game hit arcades back when there actually were arcades, way back in 1978. Its premise was as simple as you’d expect of gaming’s early days: you’re a blurry laser cannon on the bottom of the screen. Equally blurry waves of aliens approach from the top of the screen. If they reach you, it’s not going to end well. So shoot! Shoot ‘til your shooting finger can shoot no more!

But you know the setup. Space Invaders is among the most iconic games ever made, alongside the likes of Mario, Pac-Man and the equally ancient Asteroids. Even if you aren’t decrepit enough to have played the original, you’ll know the pixellated aliens anywhere.

This one was such a hit because it nailed everything that early arcade games were about. Simple, instinctive gameplay. The ol’ classic ‘easy to pick up and hard to master’ idea. It was also very addictive, and ate many, many quarters in its time. Not to mention the highscore factor.

Space Invaders
is one of those icons of gaming that is still going in some form or another. It’s been ported to all manner of systems, given spangly modern remakes and re-releases, the full works. More than that, it has been an inspiration to later generations of games and has permeated pop culture. Children who weren’t born for decades after the game’s release now wear it on t-shirts, and that’s got to say something.

The Witcher Character Profile: Ciri

Ciri

Princess Cirilla, better known as Ciri, is one of the main characters in Andrzej Sapowski’s novels.  She is the daughter of Duny and Pavetta, and grandchild of Queen Calanthe and King Roegner

To understand why Ciri is so special you need to understand her families past. Geralt of Rivia was called upon by Queen Calanthe to ensure that Cintra is allied with Skellige, as her daughter Pavetta turned fifteen years old and therefore many turned up to ask for her hand in marriage. Although Geralt does not believe this to be why he was invited. Some time later, a knight who refuses to remove his helmet until after midnight arrives and announces his name as Urcheon of Erlenwald. He states that Princess Pavetta belongs to him due to The Law of Surprise. The Law of Surprise is a demand that can be made by a man who saves someone else’s life. It’s a request which means that the saviour can demand the person who’s life he has saved for something that he doesn’t know he has. The thing he didn’t know he had, was a child as while he was away his wife became pregnant with his child.

The queen admitted this was true, but refused his request to take her daughter Pavetta. Once the clock struck midnight she demanded that he remove his helm, which he did, and he didn’t have the head of a man but a head of a beast who was covered in spines and had fangs. The Queen invoked the Law of Surprise and said that her daughter must choose whether to go with the beast or to stay, assuming that she wouldn’t want to go near the beast. However much to her surprise he daughter wants to go with Urcheon and a riot then ensues as other attendants want to go after the beast. As Princess Pavetta sees her lover Urcheon being attacked, a force explodes out of her and furniture is flying about everywhere, becoming extremely dangerous to everyone there.

When Geralt steps in to help Urcheon and baron of Tigg, Coodcoodak, starts making animal noises which manages to distract Pavetta enabling Geralt to calm her down. Urcheon, also known as Duny, then explains their situation. He and Pavetta have being seeing eachother since she was fourteen they had fallen in love. Duny had been cursed as a child to look like a beast during the day and to look like a normal man from midnight to dawn. Queen Calanthe then agrees with their love and marriage. Duny wants to thank Geralt for saving his life so offers him anything he wants, so Geralt chooses to ask for something that which you already have but do not know, and informs everyone that Pavetta is pregnant, much to their surprise, and says that he want’s their child to be raised as a witcher. Their child was Princess Cirilla.

When she was an infant both of her parents were lost at sea and presumed dead so she spent most of her childhood with her grandmother queen Calanthe in Cintra.

During the slaughter of Cintra, she was Nilfgaardian knight but luckily escaped and wondered around Sodden until she was adopted by a merchants family whom Geralt had previously helped, ultimately reuniting the two of them. Geralt took her to Kaer Morhen to be trained as a witcher as a boy would, but under the supervision of Triss Merigold they agreed that she would not undergo mutation as normal witchers and she would be treated more like a growing girl. During this time, she was also confirmed as being a source like her mother, which is when someone is born with magical powers which are hard to control and often drives young sources mad if not trained properly. She often had nightmares about the Nilfgaardian knight and was always soothed be Geralt or Triss.

Triss and Geralt then take her to the Temple of Melitele to be tutored by Nenneke, a friend of Geralt’s and then she is trained to use her magical powers by Yennefer. Yennefer then took Ciri to Aretuza, a magical school for young girls, and intended to enrol her as a student. However while there before she could enrol, some people attempted to capture Ciri but failed as she escaped through an unstable portal and appeared in the Korath desert. While there she almost died, but was saved by a unicorn who helped her escape the desert.

She was then captured by a bounty hunter named Leo Bonhart who imprisoned her and forced her to fight in the arena. She then escaped from their clutches when in the village of Unicorn, but was seriously injured as she fled on her horse. Thankfully she was saved by Vysogota of Corvo before death, and he then nursed her back to full health at his hermitage.

She then left for the Tower of the Swallow, also known as Tor Zireael, which contains portals to many different worlds. She is forced to enter one of the portals to escape the bounty hunters pursuing her. Through one of the portals she arrives in the elven world ruled by Auberon Muircetach. When she arrived there she was told that she had to pay a debt to them, and they wanted her to have a child with the king, Auberon Muircetach. They tried multiple times to have a child, all without success. She was also told by him that even if they had a child, she would never be free. She then met with some Unicorns, including the one who saved her in the Korath desert before. They told Ciri how to escape and that the elves once had to power of the Gate of the Worlds, but they no longer do, and they needed Ciri to recover their power.

Ciri went to visit Auberon, but he had drunken a fertility potion in order to be more likely to have a child with Ciri, but this proved too strong and he was dead. She then attempted to escape that night by swimming with the current of the river, however she was caught by Eredin, who previously tried to control her, and they fought until Ciri won. She rode on her horse to escape, until she met the unicorn again, who she had nicknamed Horsey, and he offered her his help to escape. He explained that the world they are in used to be a human world until the elves came and killed them all, and that the same fate would befall Ciri’s world if the elves were to gain the power of the Gate of the Worlds again, and therefore be able to control time and space. He taught Ciri how to manifest her powers and jump into another world to escape. She did this but was unable to control it and had to jump through many worlds before finding her own one, where she then killed the bounty hunter Bonhart at Stygga castle.

Princess Cirilla had not been in any other games before, however she had previously been mentioned in the first Witcher game by an inkeeper when he was telling Geralt the tale of Cirilla, however Geralt did not know of any of this at the time as he did not remember anything of his previous life.

Ciri will be a playable character in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but only when the story brings her under your control, and this will be for around ten quests. She will differ from Geralt in the game, as she will only have one sword and she will also be faster, and have some different abilities that we do not know about yet. As the games are after all of the books and are canon, it will be the first time that Geralt and Ciri unite for a long time.

Video Game Vacations: 4 New Games For A Cheap Tropical Getaway

Games

We love a good bit of unguided map discovery, (the Legend of Zelda series is enough proof of that) so here’s a few games with exploration at their core that might just entice (or deter) you to catch a small, badly serviced biplane to Bermuda. Now, where did I put my sunscreen?

The Forest

Is your busy life weighing you down? Do you have a penchant for DIY? Fancy a change of scene and to meet some enthusiastic locals? Well then The Forest is everything you want and more. With stunning, densely packed fauna and scenery so beautiful you’ll fall in love before you can say cannibals- err… I mean, okay there are cannibals; you’re going to have to sign this waiver before we continue.

Your plane has crashed on a (dubiously) deserted island. With little hope of rescue, you decide to tough it out and turn on your inner Bear Grylls, using your rudimentary tools and resources to make something that will just keep the rain off of your head. Rest assured though, soon you’ll be building multi-storey bases and that tree house you always wanted, but soon the secrets of the island beckon, taking you outside of your comfort zone.

Only announced for PS4 last December with little fanfare, The Forest looks to be a fluid and dynamic experience.  A totally nonlinear survival horror sandbox game with a base building mechanic… and cannibals? If that doesn’t float your boat then how about pretty graphics and sharing capabilities?

Be sure to pack enough Jungle formula to ward off a small mosquito colony.

Rime

This is more like it. Much more of a relaxing affair. Plentiful fresh water springs, monolithic ruins to explore and cell shaded surroundings so lovely you’ll even be glad when it starts raining on you. While you’re exploring the island be sure to note the changes between night and day, as different perspectives can alter your holiday experience. Please do not attempt to interact with the warthogs, they are a savage beast no matter how pretty and innocent they look.

Little is known about the way Rime will play out, but here’s what we do know. From a presentation at Gamescom last year we know that we’ll be playing in a large open, Dali-esque world which subtly changes with day and night cycles. We know that the format of the gameplay will be a platformer/puzzler and that your character has to survive or escape from the island on which he finds himself. We also know that there will be no combat at all, which is a refreshing change of pace.

Being heralded as the love child of PS2 classic Ico and Legend of Zelda The Windwaker, Rime will surely be a destination that gets a good star rating on trip advisor.

Wild

If unearthing the origins of mankind is your idea of a vacation then our Neanderthal package is just for you. Explore lush open environments filled with long extinct creatures. Take a ride on a giant eagle and see the land from above. Dining options are limited on this excursion, expect to forage for meals and source your own fresh meat (a herd of rampaging buffalo, for instance).

Set 10,000 years ago, Wild looks to be more than a survive ‘em up, caveman life sim. An online multiplayer experience, the trailer from Gamescom suggests a large dynamic world full of both necessity (in the form of hunting for meals, possibly crafting tools) and mysticism, represented by the unusual wildlife, skeleton shaman chief and tree giant. Seriously, check out the trailer below. The most interesting thing about this title is that you can reportedly play as any creature in the world (that includes the tree giant), and if what was shown in the trailer was just a snippet of the avatars available, we’re in for some incredibly varied gameplay experiences when the TBA release date dawns.

The Witness

As Islands are obviously notorious for containing a lot of unexplained puzzles (see Rime), The Witness meets the requirements of any budding Island adventurer just trying to get away from it all; like the holiday equivalent of having a day off with a book of crossword puzzles.

The Witness was among first PS4 games to be announced and we’re still waiting to trawl through the mind-bending island to find out what we’ll actually be ‘witness’ to. First impressions would have you believe that the entire experience has players completing line puzzles in order to progress to different areas, yet creator Jonathan Blow insists there is more to The Witness than meets the eye. Recent footage from the Playstation experience has given some hint to what he means. The Witness is a game without instruction, thus all development is facilitated by the player. It’s a game that makes understanding feel natural, and this will assist the player in the games growing complexity.

Personally though, what intrigues me the most are questions about the island and the character. Who are they and why are they here? Hopefully, a little trip to The Witness in the future will provide some answers.

That’s it holiday goers. Are there any places from currently released games you’d like to spend a day or two? I’d stay clear of Racoon City; the locals don’t understand the concept of personal space.

5 Reasons Why The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Will Be The Best Witcher Game Yet

Witcher

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open world role playing game set in the Northern Kingdoms. It is the last game in the series and continues Geralt of Rivia‘s story as he embarks on a personal mission. It is to be released on May 19th worldwide.

5. Sheer Size and Scale

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be the largest Witcher game to date. It has been reported that the game world size will be thirty times larger than the Witcher 2: Assassin of King’s game world, and will also be larger than Skyrim’s size, which is the game that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt intends to knock off of it’s perch as best RPG ever.

The gorgeous world isn’t empty either, with different enemies attacking depending where you are, and random events being plentiful. We saw on a gameplay trailer for it that when on a hunt for a griffin, Geralt came across a merchant woman being harassed, who he then promptly saved. It was then revealed that if we go back to the person after we killed the griffin we could then receive a reward. The large, beautiful world with things to do is certainly an improvement from passed Witcher games, which had smaller, separate maps and sometimes not much to do in either.

 4. True Open World

Past Witcher games were sometimes infuriating. No matter how much I loved The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, nothing could be more annoying than not being able to walk straight down a hill with a tiny drop, you were blocked by an invisible wall. You had to walk all the way around. It’s a little annoyance, but still something I can’t wait to be gone. This time there is a huge, true open world in which you can traverse the world however you want. There are multiple paths or ways to get to your objective as opposed to one route. The Witcher 2 essentially had paths leading wherever you needed to go, and you could rarely deviate from them. Being able to explore the stunning world of The Witcher will be a privilege.

3. Monster Hunts

Monster Hunts look fantastic. Like previous games you need to learn more about the monsters you’re going to be facing, but this time it seems more in depth. You need to find out what they monster is, and the motivation for what it is doing. Watching the griffin hunt was fantastic. Geralt heightening his senses so he could follow the trail of blood, before getting distracted by helping a merchant in need, and then going after the monster. A glorious cut scene of the monsters final moments then occur, and boom. The griffin’s head on Geralt’s horse. Plus, that’s amazing. Who wouldn’t want to carry the head of a bested monster as a trophy on their horse?

2. More Main Characters From The Books

Although the first two Witcher games were fantastic, there was a lack of permanent characters from the books. Every now and then you’ll hear from an old friend of Geralt’s, but there are very few who are involved for most of the games, these are mainly just Triss and Dandelion. However, in the next game Yennefer of Vengerberg and Ciri will play large parts, and this is brilliant. Those two are very large characters from within the series and it feels as if the games are heading back to their book roots by including these two. Yennefer has a complicated, yet deep love for Geralt, and he also reciprocates them feelings. Ciri is arguably the main character of the books along side Geralt, and she is known as The Lion Cub of Cintra. She is almost like a daughter for Geralt, and she looks up to him as a mentor, as well as father in The Last Wish. She is also a playable character in The Wild Hunt for some missions.

1. Pedigree

The past Witcher games didn’t disappoint, and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings corrected many errors from the first, and you can be sure that The Wild Hunt will remove any last annoyances from the previous two. With two such brilliant games though, the pedigree for the next Witcher game is clearly there. CD Projekt Red will learn from any mistakes and create the best Witcher game yet.

N0t only do they have two previous games to draw inspiration from, they have many brilliant short stories and novels which they can use for inspiration. All of the lore from previous books can be used to help create the best Witcher game yet. As this is the last installment for the series you can be sure that CD Projekt Red will want to go out with a bang. They have everything they need, and the proof is in the last two games that they can create the best Witcher game yet.

New Just Cause 3 Screenshot & Trailer Unveiled (Analysis)

Trailer

So the good ol’ folks at Avalanche Studios and Square Enix has been very generous, as they just unveiled new screen-shots and a teaser trailer “Fire starter” for their upcoming sequel Just Cause 3.

I want to discuss the trailer first as I feel that’s the quickest one to talk about. The Trailer (like most teaser trailers) doesn’t showcase much in terms of gameplay (in fact it doesn’t show any gameplay at all), mainly the trailer just showcases a montage of fire, explosions, burnings of propaganda posters, and the destruction of a statue of a dictator (I’m assuming it’s the dictator for the game, but that might change), which is typical imagery to be associated with the Just Cause franchise for sure, however didn’t really showcase anything of note…except one thing. You get to see Rico in the trailer (who’s looking mighty fine) and you get to see the man unveil a new feature for the series, a deploy-able wing-suit. It’s not much, but if that means I get to fly around like a bird in this new landscape, I’m down. The trailer then ends with the text “Set the world on fire Holiday 2015” Which holiday? You got me, I’ve no clue. To conclude, all I got to say is…the song was nice.

That’s unfortunately all I got to say about the trailer, and hopefully we’ll see actual gameplay in the future. Check out the video below:

As for the new screen-shots, the game is looking beautiful. The landscapes and the design overall is very striking, and definitely makes me want to explore the world in this game. Also stuff like weather effects, the explosions, lighting and shadows, as well as textures, are definitely a step of from it’s predecessor. Another thing to note is that the game seems to take place in a country of Latin origin of sorts, unlike the last game which took place in the fictional Asian island country of Panau. While I can’t place what country this is supposed to resemble, one of the screen-shots has a flag that hangs on a pole which resembles the Mexican flag. You also get to get a look at ol’ Rico and his new design, and overall I dig it. I also can determine that you will be able to hold about 4 weapons at a time, two heavy weapons (like assault rifles and rocket launcher’s) and 2 side weapons (like submachine guns and pistols) which is very similar to the last game. Check out the newly released screenshots below:

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While there isn’t stuff that you haven’t seen before like the typical like Sky Diving, Parachuting, the Grappling onto stuff, and Sky-jacking (taking control of air vehicles while in mid-air), as well as grappling objects/people to other objects like cars, buildings the screen-shots also unveil 2 new features not seen before, such as the above mentioned wing-suit, and the ability to fire weapons while grappling to objects, as seen in the screen-shot of Rico firing a missile type weapon while grappling to something off-screen.

The wing-suit is another prospect that I’m definitely interested in, there are only two screen-shots that feature it, however, I get a good sense how it works, basically allowing you to glide through the air at higher speeds in a more vertical way of traveling through the air and I imagine it was added in the game to make traveling across the map much faster than just using your parachute-grappling hook combo. Overall I’m excited to see how the wing-suit will be incorporated into the gameplay itself, as I imagine you can do some pretty crazy stuff with it.

That pretty much concludes my analysis for the trailer and the new screen-shots released.

Overall I am looking forward to see more, and when we get more info on the game, as well as gameplay footage, I’ll make sure to talk about it.

Top 5 Reasons Why Rogue-likes Are Awesome

Rogue-likes

Rogue-likes are hardly uncommon nowadays. If a game is not about zombies, punching trees or a combination of the two, you can bet a game has a “fresh new take on the Rogue formula”. Like rotting corpses and foliage based pugilism, we just can’t enough of the damn things. But why?

5) Quick, drop in, drop out game play

When a game is built around you dying repeatedly, often in gruesome and swift manner, you can use the feature as a way of having quick play sessions. On your lunch break? You could probably whip out a couple games of Spelunky, learn a bunch of new ways to not die, improve your play and leave feeling like you have achieved something in a very short space of time. This doesn’t mean you can’t play these games for hours on end, I have spent several days of my life descending into Dredmor…I will conquer that place one day…

4) Procedurally generated universes

Games that relish in your demise need something to keep you entertained, something that makes every delve feel fresh. Procedurally generated levels are the natural solution to this problem, and what’s more, they hit two birds with one somewhat oversized stone. On the one hand, you have infinite replayability, endless exploration, countless hours of fun. On the other, no matter how much you play the game, you will never truly master your surroundings, you can never feel completely safe in a world that is constantly shifting its walls in an attempt to disorientate you. In other words: The game stays hard.

3) Learning is fun

As much as most of us hate to admit it, learning is awesome. Learning a rogue-like is something that should, in my opinion, be on a resume. Learning what will kill you, how it will kill you, how it moves, how that move will inevitably kill you, and how to kill it in such a way that his 100+ friends don’t kill you is an art in and of itself. Learning how to maximise your chances of success in a world painstakingly designed to be the antithesis of life is fun…if you are a glutton for punishment…and you are.

2) Perma-death is relatable

Not all rogue-likes have a story, or even a shred of personality. I mean back-in-the-day “@” was our protagonist…not exactly something we can have an overwhelming emotional connection too. But strangely enough, you do have a connection. Every character you play as is a chance for you to actually win the game, and every character who dies, is actually dead for all eternity. In Rogue Legacy you might have a paranoid, schizophrenic, dwarf with brittle bones, but damn it, he is YOUR paranoid, schizophrenic, dwarf with brittle bones, and you are going to get him through that dungeon despite overwhelming odds. Chris Redfield might have a dozen games under his melon stashing biceps, but he is blessed with the luxury of immortality. There is only so much you can relate with when a character cannot truly die thanks to his impenetrable plot armour.

1) The Challenge

Rogue-likes are the ultimate challenge in gaming. A single play through can last tens of hours, hundreds even, and the fact you made it through without making a single mistake (as most mistakes are inevitably fatal) is something to be proud of. You, the greatest gamer to have ever lived, has just proven to the world, that you are in fact the greatest gamer to have ever lived. Even if the game doesn’t support achievements, we all know you have a T-shirt/tattoo combo celebrating your grandiose display of magnificence.