Fallout 3 Tips

The Capital Wasteland is an unfriendly place that’s full of danger and death, but the price tag on that official strategy guide isn’t too pretty, either. Here are some tips we’ve put together on our own after spending a few dozen hours in Fallout 3 and quite a bit of time analyzing all the perks, skills, and stats and how they work in-game.

Perks : good, bad, ugly

Intense Training (multiple times if need be – see our character guide for why this is good), Black Widow (specifically for female characters, as there are so many men in Fallout 3), Scrounger, and Educated (take this one as soon as you hit level 4) are all fantastic perks to get. For those who love using guns along with V.A.T.S., Action Boy/Girl, Grim Reaper’s Sprint, Sniper, Mysterious Stranger, Better Criticals, Commando, Gunslinger, and Bloody Mess are all great.

Melee characters will eventually want to work towards the Ninja perk and may want to get a few hits in Intense Training and Life Giver for higher stats and more health, but getting Pyromaniac is great if you’re going to use a Shishkebab for your endgame main weapon. You will probably have enough skill points to max the Unarmed or Melee Weapons skills, so you probably won’t need Little Leaguer.

Avoid perks like Paralyzing Palm, Chem Resistant, Light Step, Chemist, Adamantium Skeleton (stimpacks fix limbs well enough), Solar Powered (especially since you’d have to miss Grim Reaper’s Sprint to get it), Entomologist, Lead Belly, Infiltrator or Computer Whiz (that’s what save/load is for!). If you don’t feel like any perks are jumping out at you after a level-up, then tossing one into Intense Training or Life Giver can’t hurt.

Here’s a list of all the perks in the game along with descriptions and requirements. It’s worth poking around here to think about where you want to take your character. Most paths are great, but always give yourself at least one solid combat option.

Maxing Skill Points

There are a few important things you can do to max the number of skill points you get in a game. The first is to jack up your Intelligence in the game’s introduction, either to 9 or 10 (depending on whether you think you’ll find the Intelligence bobblehead) to max skill gains. The other is to grab the Educated perk right when you hit level 4; do these and you can be getting 20 skill points each at levels 2 and 3, and 23 skill points from level 4 and up. Depending on the overall character you want to make, you may find yourself maxing Intelligence during the intro, and filling in your « main » stat or stats later in the game with a few instances of the Intense Training perk.

Soul Calibur IV Review – 2

All of this is building upon the character customization that was present in SCIII, but you’ll likely find more options here between the weapons, abilities, stats, and from-scratch ability to mimic any of the main characters.

You can do all of that here, and to really get your money’s worth out of Soul Calibur IV, you’re likely going to want to. The problem is that the game doesn’t really explain of these systems to you, instead letting you figure out on your own how the huge amount of equipment plays into your character’s ability points and skills, then how you use those skill points by assigning various abilities to your weapon. The game’s also got several new systems involving breaking your enemies’ armor, using your Soul Gauge for various things, and doing Impact moves and such – none of these terms or moves are explained, and while fighting game aficionados can quickly pick up on this stuff and are probably already deep into the game’s more nuanced fighting system, laymen are going to feel like they’re in the dark.

It turns out, though, that the game’s a hell of a lot of fun even if you ignore all of that. Sure, you’ll eventually pick up the whole thing, but in the meantime you’ll have a blast just busting out the game’s massive range of moves, few of which require any real memorization of long combos or button sequences. Just like the rest of the series, most of your bread-and-butter moves come with a single direction on the stick or d-pad along with one or more attack buttons. Different combinations of buttons with different directions often gets you an entirely unique move, and then there are new ones based on when you’re coming up from a crouch, moving side-to-side, running, jumping, and more. The only downside to this is that for those whose last Soul Calibur experience was the first game, the kind of sweet spot of simplicity versus complexity that it balanced is not here. SCIV is almost as complicated as Virtua Fighter now.

Soul Calibur IV Review

The last time we saw Soul Calibur, the third installment didn’t really seem to impress many people. Released on the PS2 a few years ago, it came at an inopportune time and didn’t add enough to the formula to make a huge difference to most gamers. It was solid, but for those who had played the hell out of SC2, the sequel just wasn’t new enough. Namco has taken this into account for the creation of Soul Calibur IV, the first HD installment in the series, and one that’s definitely worthy of the Soul Calibur name.

With plenty of new characters, tons of moves, and a complex new character creation and item system, you’ll find yourself digging deep into building and customizing your favorite new fighter – either make one from scratch or tweak an existing combatant, then choose between any of them at the character select screen. Before long you’ll be fiddling with monocles, trying to figure out how to lose 5 Gauge stat and gain 10 Special in order for that new special ability, and fighting your way to victory in both online and offline matches.

Most of SCIV‘s depth definitely comes with the character creation and item system. For those who want to just play the arcade mode over and over, it is there and you’ll have a blast with each of the game’s 25ish unique characters (along with many clones with slightly different stats and abilities). But you’ll find quickly that with new items, you can adjust these characters to match your taste and fighting style. Maybe you’d like to make a new version of Tira that doesn’t look so drugged up or sound so annoying – hell, maybe you want to make a dainty woman in a dress with the sword and fighting style of Siegfried, Astaroth, or Nightmare. Maybe you want to customize a cracked-out version of Mitsurugi who does massive damage without regard to special moves, his own health bar, or anything else.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X [PC]

Choose a plane and an airport, and explore the whole world. Microsoft’s latest flight sim reaches new heights of graphical realism.

Microsoft might have ditched the slogan, « Where do you want to go today? » but it’s never been more appropriate than with a game that models the whole world. The company’s Flight Simulator series, one of gamings’ most aged and venerable, hits its 25-year mark in 2007. It’ll do so in fine style, because the 10th incarnation is a gem. The breathtakingly realistic open-ended civilian flight sim now includes an improved range of missions, far better ground detail and, of course, vastly improved visuals. Crank up the graphics options, and you will be seriously impressed.

Then you’ll turn all those options back down again. Not because it’s ugly, but because a computer has not yet been made that’ll run  at maximum detail. It’s as if Microsoft is deliberately targeting the machines of ’17 or ’18 rather than today’s hardware. Given that the company plans to improve‘s realism even more in a DirectX 10 patch sometime next year, it’s entirely possible that’s exactly what’s going on.

Still, any relatively recent games-capable PC will play the game quite happily, as long as you’re prudent with the settings and don’t expect first-person shooter framerates. Moreover, it’ll still look stunning. The plane models are outstandingly detailed, and almost shockingly realistic. The weather effects are near perfect. Clouds look real, and if you check the right boxes, are real — the game downloads location-appropriate, real-time weather information as you play.

On the ground, FSX brings major improvement over its last release. The game’s traffic now winds its way down accurate roads, the texture resolution has been increased, and the auto-generated buildings have been greatly improved. Don’t expect to take a spin over Nowheresville, Alabama and see accurate structures — but try Seattle, New York, or London for incredible authenticity. It really is a marvelous looking game.

Along with a reasonably hefty PC you’re going to want a joystick of some description. Unlike its predecessor, FSX does support mouse-yoke, but it’s not a tremendously satisfying solution. A basic stick will get you started, but the real pros fly with a separate throttle controller and rudder pedals. A wired Xbox 360 pad also works pretty well, if you have one of those around.

So now that we’ve got all that out of the way, what do you feel like flying: a microlight, a 737, a glider, or a helicopter ? Perhaps a commuter jet, a seaplane, or a Beechcraft twin prop? Flight Sim X‘s selection, while not huge, is amply varied, and there’s none of that unlocking nonsense — they’re all open from the beginning. Potential players should note that none of the aircraft bear any weapons more formidable than a flour bomb, so this is a civilian-only sim.



Madden NFL 19 [Wii]

Cool motion-sensing controls overcome an unbalanced defense in EA’s Sport debut for the Wii.

At the outset of the press frenzy for Nintendo’s new console,  was the game that sought to prove how well existing franchises could be adapted to the system. Look, you can pass with the remote! The nunchuck is a great tool for juking! And as we’ve had time to play with the full game, those things are definitely true.

Madden’s Wii debut isn’t any more balanced than the series has traditionally been, but it’s definitely fun. With tutorials buried in the ‘extras’ menu, your typical Madden release can be daunting to new players. But this version opens with a ‘Learn‘ option pushed front and center. While playing a quick football game (like fifa ultimate team), onscreen prompts allow quick tutorials to flash up. Blast through this well-designed sequence and you’ll learn how to use the remote and nunchuck to perform all manner of cool moves. It’s a quick primer for newcomers and proof of concept for migrating players.

We’re pleased to see how well the game responds to motion control. Pretty much every ball action, from kicking to passing and brushing off tacklers while carrying, is done via the motion sensing system, and the response is well tuned. At times, the controls can seem too responsive — small idle movements that don’t have any in-game effect when holding a normal controller suddenly translate into disastrous throwaway passes.

But EA sport has designed most of the motions well. A quick upward flip of the remote snaps the ball, then a downward flick passes. Faster movements translate into bullet passes; move the remote slowly to lob the ball. And it turns out that jogging the nunchuck left or right is quite natural for evading an incoming tackle. And while you can use large, theatrical movements, each action works just as well — sometimes better — with small, controlled flicks that don’t feel like a workout.

The system isn’t quite as good on defense, in part because simply selecting a player other than the default can take too much time. The playbook selection screen could use additional opposition analysis, and lots of players will miss all of the pre-snap options for tweaking plays.

F.E.A.R. Extraction Point

Last year’s top shooter gets a little bigger with this first expansion, or at least slightly longer.

For any top-selling PC shooter, the expansion pack is an inevitable release. The idea of building new levels from an existing (and proven) engine and storyline is too good to pass up. So, slightly more than a year since the release of the massively entertaining .

F.E.A.R. comes the first expansion: the brief but action-saturated Extraction Point. Rather than expanding the storyline or offering an alternative point of view (a la Half-Life: Opposing Force) Extraction Point goes for the straight line, providing roughly six hours of additional combat and exploration. You’ll begin moments after the end of F.E.A.R., with the helicopter meant to ferry your team to safety crashing back down into the city. From there it’s a simple dash from one point to another, the goal always being to reach a viable extraction point. The limited play time of Extraction Point doesn’t grate — few shooter expansions are truly expansive — but the narrow focus does. There’s little of the sense of unease that was originally present in spades. It’s easy to feel you’ve seen all the tricks that might be in store, and while there are some new supernatural entities, most of the time you’ll be shooting it out with the same Replicant forces that bedeviled us all the first time around.

More frustrating is the homogeny of the environment. Because you’re back in the same city that provided the original setting, very little looks different. You’re not in the same old corridors the whole time (small favors!) but there’s still an undeniable sense that Monolith’s excellent engine is in urban blight overdrive.

F.E.A.R. already bore a too-heavy resemblance to Monolith’s other recent title,  Condemned, making this three games in a row that look just alike. (To be fair, Extraction Point was developed by TimeGate Studios, but you get the point — Monolith’s stamp is all over this expansion, for obvious reasons.)

But maybe none of those issues sound too bad at all, and indeed if you loved the original for the sheer density of the firefights and ability to use slo-mo powers to deliver more lead per second than in any other game, this extra set of missions could do just the trick. There are a couple of new weapons and enemies, but for the most part you’ll be facing the same foes, using basically the same tactics.

SW-TOR : Replayability is it that bad ?

Well as someone who had to reroll the same class after getting hit with realm queues of over 4 hours I can honestly say I haven’t found replaying content a chore.

The fact is there are several options for levelling your toon, you can do all the quests in each area or indeed just focus on the story quest and level using pvp, ship combat or via flashpoint grinding. So there really is a bit of choice as to how you may choose to level.

It actually fits directly with how I levelled in WoW although in WoW I probably stuck more rigidly to zones I enjoyed and knew well. The fact is I’ve probably enjoyed it more the second time around as I have become much more comfortable with my Jedi Shadow than my previous play through and have found I make much better use of my abilities.

With regards to my second toon I’m actually taking it very slow and mixing it up a bit on the way. I’m on a low population realm (The Kumumgah PvP EU) so I have found myself a bit behind the levelling curve (currently a lowly level 20) which makes group quests and getting groups together for flashpoints a bit difficult but to be honest I’m absolutely fine with that, I am aware I’ll be lagging behind gear wise but it does mean I wont be burned out of the instances come level 50 which is exactly the problem I encountered playing WoWs endgame.

As for my future in SW:TOR the only real target I have set myself is to get my speeder before the close of the year, so 2019 will mean a lot less running about, that and of course have a ton of fun whilst I play which is all you can ask from a game and its something I’m finding SW:TOR delivers in spades.

Wow : Onyxia vs Ragnaros

Early WoW raiders cut their teeth on Molten Core. And man, is it cool, er, hot and totally different from Onyxia’s Lair in almost every way, shape and dragon’s scale. But when the gristle meets the bone, which raid deck is the best ? Which raid will put the most hair on your chest ? We put the two bruisers up against each other for the ultimate showdown.


The Lair’s arsenal really boils down to two features: one big dragon or a zillion whelps blitzing on all sides. Onyxia is a monster, ready to rend and mutilate the field at a moment’s notice. However, while her whelps might be frightening in large numbers, it’s sometimes difficult to reach critical mass.

Onyxia’s kids are just a bit too random and too puny to pull their momma’s fat out of the proverbial fire if the heroes get juiced.

The coolest part of the Molten Core raid is the minion deck. At the beginning of every turn, the boss player takes a random card from his minion deck and places it facedown in his resource row. When the current boss is destroyed, all your resources are destroyed, but they come into play faceup as active allies!

Not only do minions jump into play when bosses are killed, but many of the bosses also have ways to create ally tokens that only add more fuel to an already hot fire !


Halo killer.” It’s a term thrown around about every first-person shooter to hit the market. And it’s a term I generally ignore – but not because I think outdoing Halo is impossible. Despite its involving multiplayer and sometimes inventive weapons, I always found Halo to be “FPS-lite.” Cute grunting little aliens replaced the blood spewing soldiers and zombies of my favorite first-person shooters of old, and dressed the rest of the game up in a happy console sheen. Gears of War effectively takes the FPS back to its gritty origins, and adds a third-person view and gameplay that make things more complicated than “run, gun, lob a grenade.” Like metal gear solid .

GoW is a visceral experience. Enemy soldiers pop out of the ground unexpectedly as your comrades are chewed up by gunfire and rabid dogs. You throw yourself to the ground behind broken pillars, and fractured machines. The first thing you will notice about Gears is its use of graphics. Currently, it’s one of the best-looking games on the market for any system. However, you might be misled by some of the TV spots for Gears of War featuring protagonist Marcus Fenix running through the dark with a Tears for Fears song playing in the background. Marcus is not really in touch with his emotions – he is not a Tears for Fears sort of guy. He spends most of his time during cut scenes cursing as much as possible.

In fact, thanks to Fenix’s over-the-top attitude, there were times when I thought I was playing the latest installment in the Duke Nukem franchise. But as soon the cinematic nonsense ends, Gears of War becomes an all-consuming combat zone that will keep you ducking for cover, calling on satellites for energy strikes against screen-devouring baddies, and sawing enemies into pieces for days. Gears of War is not a Halo killer – it is something else entirely. Thanks to its online play, fulfilling single player story and all around completeness, what Gears of War is, is a killer pain in the ass for Sony and Nintendo. GOW delivers the complete next generation experience and is simply the first clear-cut, grizzled victor in the next-generation gaming wars.

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