Sexy New Xbox 360 Is Sexy

Just grabbed myself the new Xbox 360 Slim. Accidentley left Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in my old, traded in one, but we rang GAME and I’m going back on Sunday to get it. Boy, it’s great to finally play for a decent amount of time without the console exploding.

It is so quiet. You cannot hear it when playing an Arcade game or installed Retail game, it’s so quiet. The On and eject buttons are both touch sensitive, and more vents mean less overheat. Great purchase, still a bit curious as to what to spend my last £40 on; Singularity, Crackdown 2 or Microsoft Points. The latter I’ll probably need more, seeing as the Summer of Arcade starts next week, kicking off with Limbo.

This is Ben, rounding off your read.

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Kids and Busches

What’s happening?

Annoying kids harassing your neighbors – that’s what’s happening. Mr. Kid himself was busy annoying my neighbors across the road whilst they were fixing up their front lawn, causing havoc and mayhem. Made a Vuvuzela sound like an opera singer.

Gotta do a presentation in front of my class tomorrow about Busch Gardens, the kick ass theme park in Tampa Bay, Florida. I’m so damn nervous, my confidence is so small it could be mistaken for Justin Bieber’s… size.

I’m Ben, and this is my life story.

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(iPhone) Archetype Review

Archetype (iPhone) – Review

We’ve had our fair share of shooters on the iPhone, such as the highly successful N.O.V.A. and Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies, which both execute the FPS formula exceptionally on the mobile platform, but now a new futuristic shooter, has entered the fray, offering ‘iPwnage’ for just £1.79. Does Archetype live up to the motto of a cheap shooter with fantastic play, or is it just another thumb fiddler riddled with issues?

Archetype

Archetype is a strictly online multiplayer only shooter, and when I first heard this detail, I thought that I would need a solid connection to be able to cope and shoot something. Surprisingly, this is not the case, as Archetype offers one of the most lag free online experiences I’ve ever played on iPhone, and my connection is definitely not the best. When it comes to a smooth tone of play, the game delivers more in this aspect that most multiplayer experience on the platform. Unfortunately the restrictions continue, as there is only one game mode to play online, Team Deathmatch, with the exception of training, where you go and kill wooden targets for practice. TDM splits two teams of five against each other, in a battle to the death for first team to 22 kills. After a while this does become repetitive, but will keep you entertained for a considerable amount of time. With a fairly low kill limit, it’s surprising that the timer usually runs out before the maximum kills are reached, so games are short but fast paced.

There is no character customization or classes in the shooter and all the weapons can be used from the start, and in a classic Halo fashion, picked up at various points on the battlefield. The variety of weapons isn’t wide, but this is corresponding to the map sizes. There are five maps in the game, some being very confined and great for fraggers, whilst others wide and open for you to go completely nuts in blind fire. It’s a shame that the maps tend to stay on a similar theme of bland interiors, I believe that more colourful outdoor environments such as jungles would make the game more enjoyable overall, instead of being confined to the dark corridors. A veto option is included in pre-game lobbies to skip maps which you don’t like, and you will quickly establish a favourite based on your playing style. Spawning in maps could be largely improved, as you find yourself regularly spawning near enemies or in the same spot constantly, making it irritating when an enemy camps up on a porch and sits there waiting for you to spawn. Weapons vary from Machine Guns to the deadly one hit Battle Axe, which is friendly to ‘Magnum + Tactical Knife + Marathon’ types. Frags are a pain in the butt, with two equipped as standard on spawn causing for some regular frag spamming. That set aside, weaponry is balanced and rarely does a particular weapon dominate the battle.

Archetype

There is only one control method available, the two analogue sticks for aiming and movement, with shooting controlled automatically when the cursor is moved over an enemy target, except if you tap the right analogue stick twice, which is a bit unnecessarily inconvenient. A variety of controls methods need to be introduced, I would recommend the analogue/shoot pads with swipes of the screen to look around, or the effective tilt control method from CoD Zombies. The interface is clear, with ammo displayed, changing weapons is quick and easy and health/shields are bold and clear. Melee is executed by tapping the radar, which can sometimes get irritant due to its close proximity to the analogue sticks. Luckily, the standard controls work effectively and cause few problems, only for fussy types that will refuse to try different methods.

The ranking system is experience based; earning XP through kills and medals, based on your own performance rather than your team in general, but only badges are earned through this process. Reading the user reviews for this game, aside from the regular moaners that appear on every application on the store saying ‘IT WON’T START UP WORST APP EVUR’, a single player campaign is heavily demanded. For Villain, the developers behind Archetype, to execute a single player campaign effectively, they would need to expand the variety of environments to perhaps more exotic and exterior locations, add narrative and take inspiration from N.O.V.A., so that Archetype can live up to its beautiful visuals that are simply spectacular on the display. Keeping in mind the cheap price though, I would not be surprised if Villain decided to release a single player campaign as paid downloadable content.

Overall however, Archetype does provide great fun for the price tag, with a smooth online experience and ranking system, but essential and optional improvements need to be made to the shooter in order for it to be the best it can be.

SCORE: 7/10.

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GIMP’d

So before I joined Twitter I used to be a Pokemon nerd. No, not those nerds that just sit in the corner and occasionally twitch shouting “derp”, a fan of a really addictive game is a better way to put it. I joined Pokemon Diamond Clans forum back in September 2007 and made some great friends. We all had a similar passion – graphics. Userbars, signatures, avatars, logos, we made it alright, and we did it together through the Canvas Clan. Shortly after my departure the Canvas Clan unfortunately closed and a year or so later, I made contact with one of my friends from the forum.

They’d been spending the majority of their time since I left on DeviantART, and after looking at her work, she sure is an amazing artist, doing fan art and signatures. So, trying to get back into the swing of things, I joined DeviantART and decided to give graphics another go. Firing up GIMP, I set on my quest to retain graphical awesomeness… and I crashed and burned. My sigs turned out to be as awful as Raoul Moat’s choice of hiding (next to a river… you won’t get far then mate) and so I tried out some tutorials.

I could easily understand the tutorials but the end result was just horrible. Whether it be that the render never worked well, my smudging, placement of brushing wasn’t effective, I don’t know, but they sure as hell looked nothing like the result the tutorial creator had gotten. So after a bit of experimentation on my own, I finally got this. Not bad for a returner, eh?

The Last Hope

Do NOT use, redistribute without my permission.

To check out my DeviantART page and future works, go here.

Thank you and god speed.

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Some Awesome Music

Hello all, these are some current and upcoming tracks that I’ve been listening to lately and really like, recommending them to you lot.

See y’all soon.

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Zelda meets Mark Ronson in ‘Circuit Breaker’

The joys of 2D gaming, where we used to hammer away at our GBA’s and play endless hours of Zelda, oh, those were the days. You may have heard of the artist Mark Ronson, he’s got a new album coming out in September called Record Collection and his new single, Bang Bang Bang is out next Sunday. One of the tracks off his upcoming album, entitled Circuit Breaker sounds like an awesome remix of the Legend of Zelda soundtrack, which was probably the inspiration behind the music video, taking a lookalike Zelda through a familiar world in search of the components to assemble the decks.

Check out the video for Circuit Breaker below and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Featured image credit to captainosaka.

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I don’t think I can wait much longer!

Since hearing the news that Mirror’s Edge on iPhone was coming “any day now”, a day before my birthday in which I got an iTunes card I’ve been chipping away at ever since, saving a considerable amount left for when the game releases, a rough estimate at what I think it will be (£5.99), but nearly two weeks after that article, nothing has hit the App Store and I think that EA need to set realistic time scales. Either that, or Apple are trying to build boring hype for the game, which guess what Steve Jobs? It ain’t working, in fact I might decide to give up soon, this iTunes credit is burning a hole in my virtual pocket.

So what’s the hold up? The game got delayed twice. The first time it was supposed to release in January 2010 and got pushed back to Early 2010 to speed up work on the iPad version which released in April. I suppose the time between the iPad release and now can be counted as the second delay, and as this news comes, I really wouldn’t be surprised it it got delayed again. Don’t get me wrong, I can wait for a game, Portal 2 has been delayed into 2011 and I can accept that because I know that Valve will do a fantastic job with the game, more time will make it better.

But what confuses me is how hard can it be? Back in December 2009 the trailer was out for the iPhone version and it looked very near completion. In March 2010, hands on with the game on sites such as TouchArcade looked near flawless and ran incredibly smoothly. I get it – you’ve completed the iPad version, but what else have you got to do? Create more levels? Surely it can’t be hard to convert it to a universal application, making the changes here and there. Interested to know what has been going on for the past two months with the game.

But then again, it’s EA. It’s not the first delay we’ve ever seen.

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