Archive for February, 2013

Hello

Hello (Photo credit: ZORIN DENU)

Everytime I turn around, it seems like there is something on the news, about some guy who just snapped, and ran into a public building shooting people. It can happen anywhere, it has even happened locally in the small American town that I currently call home.

It should come as a surprise, to absolutely nobody, that these shootings would stir the pot in the decades old gun control debate. People would begin arguing about the pros and cons of gun control, People would shout about how it’s their right to bear arms! The interweb would come alive, and people would run to their facebook, twitter or blog to let their opinion be known!

Everyone has their opinion on the matter, myself included. However, I don’t feel the need to use this blog as a soapbox. My opinion will have little to no impact on what happens in the coming months and years. What I will say though, is that I find it amusing that many of the same people on the interwebs who went on about the war on Christmas, and arguing about how the bible isn’t taught in schools, are also the exact same people who are shouting about their guns, and how the government doesn’t have the right to take their guns, because it’s their damn right according to the 2nd amendment.

That’s all well and good, however I am curious how these people can and with a straight face, complain about how the government is trying to strip them of their inalienable right to bear arms, while also having no qualms about imposing their religious beliefs on others and stripping people of their right to freedom of religion.

One word: Hypocrites

Let me be clear on this, I have absolutely no objection to someone saying “I love my guns, and they better not take ’em!” and then the next day say “If the bible was mandatory reading in school, none of this would happen.” I wouldn’t agree with it, but I wouldn’t have an issue with it. My problem lies in the majority, the ones who clearly state that the government is infringing on their 2nd amendment right to bear arms with the idea of gun control, while at the same time believe that religion should be taught in schools. Then you are a hypocrite, because teaching children what your holy book says is infringing on their FIRST amendment right to freedom of religion, or even lack there of.

You either stand up for all rights, or just sit down, and shut up.

We are well into a new year! So, I decided to bring to you my list of best free to play MMORPGs! It wasn’t so long ago, that a list like this would be pointless. MMORPGs that were free to play were few and far apart, and the ones that were out looked only slightly better than ASCII. Now, not only are there multitudes to choose from, but the majority of them don’t just look good, but look outstanding.

However, nice graphics does not always make a fun MMORPG. For me, a good MMORPG offers a compelling story or brings something new to the table. Something to make it stand out from the rest!

It’s not surprising that most of the games on this list were once subscription based. Games originally intended to be subscription only, tend to have a higher production value, and because of that, more time and effort put into the game.

I also want to say, that if you really enjoy any of these games, and find yourself playing one a lot, then I highly recommend subscribing to the game. You usually receive special perks, and you get full enjoyment out of the game, without having to spend time and extra money purchasing the needed content to continue your adventure.

Lastly, I will say right from the go: World of Warcraft is not on this list. Some may argue that it is sort of free to play, however they would be wrong. Sure, you can buy pets from a cash store, and yea, you can play for free. However you can only play up to level 20, and then no further unless you buy the game and subscribe. Although, even if it were free to play, I am not sure it would make it to this list, since at the time of this writing, it doesn’t really offer anything new to the MMORPG community.

Without further ado, the 10 best free to play MMORPGs!

10) Tera – This free to play MMORPG only went free to play last month, and it looks gorgeous! To fully appreciate the beauty of this game you need to have a fairly decent computer, however you can lower the settings, and play it on lower performance systems, but it doesn’t look anywhere near as nice. The game has a ton of races and classes to choose from, and features a detailed character creator.

The only thing keeping this game from being higher on the list is the controls. They are clumsy and awkward, though I am sure some will love them. I am used to traditional MMORPG controls, and this style, just fries my dome.

9) Star Trek Online – This MMORPG has been out for 3 years, and has only gotten better. If you are a fan of star trek, or Sci-fi in general, then this is definitely worth checking out. The game features voice talents of many Star Trek actors and actresses and some stunning graphics. After a short tutorial mission, you become a captain, and get your own ship! This ship also serves as your player housing, and as your mount. Piloting your ship takes a little getting used to, but afterwards, it becomes second nature. This unique blending of space missions and ground missions helps the game to stand out from other titles, but what really sets it apart is the Foundry. The foundry allows you to create your own quests and missions and share them with the community. Which means that there is a never-ending flow of new quests and missions being added daily, and since Star Trek fans are known for their passion and creativity, the majority of these missions are of higher quality than the official missions.

8) Age of Conan – An MMO that captures the savagery of Hyboria and the tales of Conan! The game has unique combat controls, which requires you to watch your enemies and attack where they are weakest. Sure, you can just button mash, but you won’t last very long doing that! It’s also important to note, that this game is based on the novels, not the movies, so don’t be surprised that people don’t speak in an Austrian accent. The only thing keeping this game from being MUCH higher, is the fact that after the starting area, the game seems less polished. Tortage is fantastic and gorgeous, and if the rest of the game was anywhere near as fleshed out as that area? This game would be number one with a bullet!

7) Lord of the Rings Online – This MMORPG is based on the novels by Tolkien, not the movies! Meaning, you will see and interact with characters not in the movie. The game takes place during the same time as the events in the books, and you play a character living in the world. Sometimes, you may find yourself bumping into the fellowship, or following in their footsteps, in your own unique story worthy of the title Lord of the Rings.

6) Fallen Earth – An MMORPG set not just in the future, but in a post apocalyptic future! A wasteland reminiscent¬†of the Fallout universe, or Mad Max. The world is huge, the setting unique and the story? Well, the story is alright, but it’s there, and better than most MMOs.

5) Dungeons & Dragons Online – One of the earliest subscription based MMORPGs to go free to play, and still one of the best. The game is challenging to master, but easy to learn. If you are a D&D pen and paper player, then you should be playing this, if you aren’t already. The game is set in the Eberron Campaign, which admittedly is not my favorite setting, but the game is fantastic never the less. The controls can be remapped to any button(Or controller if you use an Xbox 360 controller for windows), which means the controls can and do fit everyones needs.

4) Champions Online – An action based MMORPG where you get to play a super hero! The game features graphics that are top notch, and resemble comics with their slightly cell shaded appearance. Not a fan of the look? Don’t fret! That graphic filter can be switched off, for more of a traditional gaming look. The game has deep character customization tools, so you can literally create the super hero of your dreams. Worried that your hero name will be taken? Not a problem either, since the can be multiple Super Heroes with the same name(whispers and mail is determined by your login name).

3) APB Reloaded – While it’s not your traditional MMORPG, it does have enough in common with other MMORPGs to appeal to the same userbase. The game takes place in a modern setting, and is similar in many ways to the grand theft auto games. Will you be a cop or a thug? Bring peace to the streets or anarchy? The choices are yours! The game is heavily group dependent however, so if you are a soloist, this might not be the best game for you. The controls also take a while to get used to, and since the game has recently gotten rid of its tutorial level, you are pretty much just forced to figure it out on your own. Which means, you will end up dying a lot at first.

2) Star Wars: The Old Republic – This game is made by Bioware, the same guys who made the Mass Effect, Dragons Age and Knights of the Old Republic games. So, you know it’s going to be kick-ass! The graphics are amazing, and the stories(the are different for each class) are unbelievable! Your actions shape the entire outcome of the game. How you play it is entirely up to you!

1) The Secret World – While not free to play in the same sense as the others on this list, it is still free to play. Sure, you have to buy the game, but that’s it! You can buy more items from the cash store, but not required for full enjoyment of the game. The game reminds me of the Story Telling games by White wolf, called World of Darkness. To be even more precise it reminds me of the Mage games. The game takes place in a modern world, wrapped in dark secrets on conspiracies. A world where hidden things do go bump in the night, where shadowy organizations pull the strings. This game borrows heavily from Lovecraft as well as numberous other writers, and is an insanely enjoyable experience.

ncis

I will be upfront with this review. I am not a fan of the series, in fact I have never watched it. If I had, my views on the game might have been different.

What I expected was a game with similar play mechanics to the CSI titles. The premise isn’t much different, and it’s released through the same publisher.

Needless to say, it’s not what I got. The game was a mess! Sure the graphics were standard(For the time of its release), but the animation and voice acting were very sub-par, which is a shame since apparently the game uses the voice talents of the actual shows actors(Which leads me to question the shows entertainment value).

The game consists of you walking around the screen taking pictures of whatever one of the other characters tell you to take photos of. Basically, it’s a “Hidden picture” game. I say that in quotes, because the items aren’t really hidden. They usually are just right there. You may have to walk around a counter to see it, but it’s sitting in the blue.

Occasionally you might be asked move something, or help move something. During these scenes you are expected to press a combo of buttons. Kind of like a Quick Time Event, minus the Quick Time.

You also play as the medical examiner and perform autopsies, which sounds interesting at first, until you discover that an autopsy consists of you taking pictures of red glowing marks on a wire frame body.

You are probably wondering by this point, if the game has any puzzles! Yes, it does. If you have the same idea of puzzles as this game. Puzzles tend to be matching up a piece of evidence with another. Sometimes the puzzle is a memory game. Other times, its keeping your crosshairs on top of a moving target.

The only redeeming aspect of this game is the “deduction board” where you connect all of the gathered clues to reach a final conclusion. It reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes deduction boards, however, it too is fairly simple.

Overall, the game is nothing like what I expected, and was a huge disappointment from start to finish. perhaps if I was familiar more with the series, it might have left a better taste in my mouth, but from a purely gaming point of view, this is an abomination to video games! Sure, it’s not the WORST game I have ever played, but that’s not really a redeeming factor.

In the end, unless you a truly hardcore NCIS fan, I would stay FAR away from this title.