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By Gehennakat On 29 Feb, 2016 At 07:24 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarDying Light: The Following
By Gehennakat

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Announced in May 2013, the original Dying Light was released in January 2015 for Microsoft Windows, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One by developer Techland. It was well received as you took on the role of Kyle Crane, an undercover agent sent into the Turkish city of Harran during a viral outbreak that has caused the Harran Defense Ministry to quarantine the entire city. Inside the city is a maze of buildings and favela type cities that you navigate via parkour running and jumping. Unfortunately, the outbreak has caused the dead to rise and attach anything they can get their teeth on. You spend your time between trying to help survivors and deal with the local political leader gone bad.

Dying Light: The Following is the standalone expansion to the original, and was released on February 9th. I have to admit I’m hooked. Even after playing the entire first game and completing the expansion I still find myself spending time with this gem either doing side missions or just zombie bashing.

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The story for The Following picks up relatively soon with our protagonist Kyle Crane still in Harran helping those who are trying to survive, while trying to still find a cure, scavenge supplies, and and maintain a stock of Antizin. Antizin is the drug given via injection to keep people who have been infected from turning, and sadly for the Harran, it’s getting very scarce. Kyle and the survivors happen across an injured stranger who, in his delusional state, claims there’s an infection free group of survivors where he came from. Kyle follows the stranger’s trail back to an outback type countryside where he finds the source of the rumor for immunity. A group, called the Children of the Sun, claims their leader “The Mother” is the source of this cure through belief and loyalty. She is followed by a select group, or inner circle, known as the Faceless. Kyle is reluctant to believe, but given the dire straits his friends are in he’ll venture anything to save them. To earn the cure Kyle must prove his worth with the Children of the Sun by completing missions and proving he’s not just an outsider.

Everything they’ve done for this expansion has been a winner in my opinion. First off the countryside is completely different from the tall buildings and tight corridors in the cityscapes of Harran. The area itself is roughly twice the size of both the maps in the original Dying Light combined. Sprawling farmlands as far as you can see with limited cover, or even cars to hide on top of. There are few safe zones and limited number of hunter’s blinds you can climb up for a breather if necessary though. Herds of zombies are everywhere and you have to use your smarts vs. abilities to get you where you need to be… until you get your buggy. That’s right folks, you now get a fully customizable buggy to help you traverse the massive landscape and smash lots of dead things.

The buggy itself, has its own skill tree that let you upgrade different perks and abilities. Anything from a shock cage, to a scoop on the front, or flamethrowers; basically anything twisted you want to do a zombie they’ve given you the ability to use in car form. With the buggy does come some new challenges. First off you need to constantly be on the lookout for fuel and parts. The buggy follows the same principle as the weapons you craft; they will eventually break down and need to be repaired. Sadly if you take your starter ride and try to cut a bloody swath through every group of zombies, or the harder armored giants, you quickly find yourself very dead (as I did), or that your car is broken down and you’re surrounded trying to repair your engine and escape. The buggies come even more into play at night when the hunters come out and the zombies become faster and harder to kill. The night hunters can literally flip your ride over or jump on it as your driving and attack. Since the “Be the Zombie” has carried over also you’ll find invading players will try and keep you from your vehicles or take them out quickly. Thankfully, the game still support 4-player co-op so at night a group of 4 with decent powered buggies can actually make an impressive stand at night. Personally, my buggy has an ability which temporarily turns it into a UV safe zone, while my buddy has one with a car alarm that can be remotely set off to attract zombies, then another to flambé them with torches when they get too close.

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Like I stated this game still supports your save from the original Dying Light and also the ability to play with friends (up to 4). It’s the same drop in and drop out mechanic we’re familiar with, but the new expansion adds a difficulty called Nightmare that makes it almost a requirement for some help from your homies. Night time last considerably longer, creatures are faster, more deadly and the little bastards will dodge your melee attacks like they’re doing a River Dance. This wouldn’t be so frustrating except that on Nightmare mode everything you do physically costs stamina. So before on Normal difficulty you could run head long into a group of zombies swinging away, now you need to pick your strikes lest you find yourself out of breath and unable to run or climb from those gnashing teeth. Why would you subject yourself to something like that? Well, on top of the difficulty making you want to punch a kitten it does offset this by dropping more rare items, weapons, and parts. Think of the difficulty similar to Diablo. The normal mode is good, but if you want the best and rarest items you need to play a harder difficulty.

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Now a new story, vehicles, maps, and missions are all great, but Techland has done a few more things here. Not only are there said vehicles, but the expansion introduces new characters, a new story campaign, new weapons, side quests, daily challenges, and even some new gameplay mechanics. Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition includes this expansion, the original Dying Light game, and ALL of the downloadable content released for the original game. I simply can’t recommend this game enough. So if you’re into zombies, carnage, and things that go bump in the night, the new enhanced edition of Dying Light: The Following has something for you undead lovers to really sink your teeth into. Happy hunting.

By Gehennakat On 11 Feb, 2015 At 05:16 AM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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I love me some zombies. Seriously, anything from Resident Evil all the way to Dead Nation, as long as there’s shambling corpses waiting to have their heads bashed or detached I’m game. In 2011 developer Techland graced us with a first person, open world romp called Dead Island and the sequel, shortly after call Dead Island: Riptide. This tasked us with picking one of several survivors (each who had their own strengths) and setting about the island with miscellaneous quests and lots of blood. This was one of the first zombie games I had played in a while that actually felt visceral in regards to the damage you could inflict and how an actual outbreak would be like if your were in the middle of such a situation. Needless to say, when I heard Techland was doing another open world zombie-fest I was excited. Then they said it included parkour style locomotion I was sold. Enter Dying Light.
Dying light is another open world adventure from Techland with a first person perspective that pits you against the undead in a more suburban type sprawl than in Dead Island. The main protagonist in this quest is an undercover operative named Kyle Crane who is dropped into the fictional city of Harran. Harran has recently been swept up in an outbreak that turns the infected into to the usual zombie fare. Crane is sent in to recover a file that’s key to the outbreak by the group he works for called the GRE. After parachuting in and almost being eaten alive Kyle meets up with a local group of survivors to begin his adventure. I don’t want to get into plot points here, but lets just say there are a LOT of side missions and quests to keep you occupied.

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Before we get too far I need to point out there are quite a few similarities between Dying Light and Dead Island. I mean, to the point where I thought I was playing the wrong game for a second. The combat, crafting , loot, etc. all feel like a sequel to Dead Island. This is good in it’s own right, but I was curious why this wasn’t just called Dead Island 3, then I started to notice things. First off, the graphics and sounds are excellent. Dead Island did a great job on PS3 for looking good , but the new consoles make tropical settings and suburban environments all the more realistic. Shadows are cast in very natural light as the day slowly progresses towards night, and when the sun rises in the morning. The infected even received an overhaul in regards to appearance and realism. The modeling accounts for layers so when you haul off and hit a zombie in the head with a sickle you get a pretty realistic result. They’ve even added a “stun” feature so when you hit a zombie with a critical it goes into an x-ray view to show the bone damage a la Sniper Elite.

The next thing that really changes things up is the infected AI. They’ll do their normal shambling and staggering, but with the new infected runners will come looking for you if you make too much noise. These runners make the ones in 28 Days Later look like pansies. I made the mistake of throwing a Molotov too close to an exploding barrel once, and although the resulting explosion was amazing the echoing shrieks that emanated from surrounding neighborhood let me know I was in for it. A pack of runners showed up and I figured I’d parkour my way out of the situation.

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This is where the free running aspect comes in big time. You can freely run, jump over obstacles, grab ledges just like Mirror’s Edge. Based on how much you run you level up your skill for Agility which in turn grants you more moves like sliding, vaulting, and even leg sweeps to break your pursuers limbs to slow them down. On top of it all of the mo-cap for the parkour moves was handled by the founder of parkour himself, David Belle. So when the runners closed in on me I thought I had it made when I climbed to the top of the house next to me. This is when I realized theses are not your run of the mill fast zombies, these are parkour zombies spawned straight from hell. They hone in on nearby sounds and will search for you until they find something else that interests them (IE another noise distraction). If they make eye contact you better get to running and try to break line of sight.

Needless to say, after being torn apart and re-spawning I made more of an effort to be aware of my surroundings. Then night fell. The voice over the loud speaker will tell you to find a safe house until morning. Now if you want to level up fast running around at night is the way to go. They give you double power and agility points for everything you do, but at a cost. At night is when the hunters come out. Aptly named, the hunters are night stalkers that can leap from rooftops out of the night to dispatch you quickly. This adds even more a difficulty because these hunters will chase you like the runners during the day.Dying_Light_Screenshot_12

On top of the next gen graphics, sound effects, and new aspects of game play there is also drop-in/out co-op for up to 4 players. This has worked seamlessly so far with hardly any issues. The inclusion of the “Be the Zombie” DLC rounds off the co-op and lets you invade another players game at night as a hunter. There’s also more DLC lined up with a season pass available through the PSN Store so the zombie goodness can continue.

Dying Light is definitely in the same vein as Dead Island, but with more crafting options, bigger and better zombies, and the inclusion of night time missions it certainly not the sequel people assume it is. This is one of the more fun open world adventures you’ll go on in a while. So, if vaulting off a zombie in to a crowd of the undead brandishing Excalibur (it’s an Easter egg) to remove some limbs sounds like your kind of party, pack up 3 of your best buds and see if Dying Light whets your appetite, or leaves you running scared.

 

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 11 Nov, 2014 At 02:31 AM | Categorized As Featured, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

No Gravatartigerdirectbash

This was my first year attending TigerDirect’s Tech Bash which itself isn’t exactly an old established event itself but apparently buddies and staff there last year noticed two major changes from its last run.

  • An increase in attendance.
  • An increase in observers.

What do I mean by observers? Well mostly people who don’t use technology so much, besides your run of the mill smart phone and computer for social networking and whatnot, and only attended to get a show and maybe some free stuff. There were many attendees and yet a lot of the large extravagant gaming setups seemed to go largely ignored by them.

Funny enough there was a huge line for a demo of the Oculus Rift which as you know Zuckerberg picked for its potential outside of gaming despite the project initially getting funded by a largely gamer demographic.

Now you can’t talk about the event without talking about how all the different exhibitors were laid out. The event was hosted at Marlins Park, the baseball stadium for Miami’s team. In the homefield where the actual games are played they set up a temporary show floor to not ruin the grass where the main sponsors were gathered. The areas outside the ring of stadium seat had rows of exhibitors with smaller booths from NVidia to Microsoft. I wish I could show the wide range of booths and setups but unfortunately my PC is not working normally and can’t detect my SD card. I believe I could benefit from buying either from Asus or iBUYPOWER whom had gaming setups in the main exhibit area. In terms of gaming a lot was going on, there were promotions for giveaways, gaming lounges, and Alienware even had a preview of Dying Light.

I have a few suggestions for both the actual event and its exhibitors to make next year even better.

  • Get a convention center. Marlins Stadium is large, but results in a lot of wasted space and more crowding.
  • Make the event slightly longer than 7 PM to 11 PM. It’s a short span of time to network, look around, have fun, find your buddies, etc. Especially when everything moves so slowly. Also observers can take up less of the event’s time.
  • If you’re having giveaways every half hour or so, PLEASE don’t make it a be there or lose deal. Seriously. Ask for a phone number and text the winner to collect their prize at the booth. A raffle of that sort should only be conducted once and have a prize worth the attendance. I’m looking at you Sandisk.
  • I can see Tech Bash is also an opportunity for people in the industry to connect. So please, make the networking event more accessible instead of a secluded area for the employees of event sponsors.

TigerDirect Tech Bash is a promising event with room to grow, but the event will have to grow along with its number of attendees lest they suffer in quality and lose the interest of sponsors and attendees. Miami does have a small but growing technology sector, and we need events like the Tech Bash to present it in a positive light and help foster it.