Wednesday, 16 August 2017

My Usual Spiel - Brutal Doom and the Hell on Earth Starter Pack, what Doom and Doom 2 should have been

You may have noticed I’m playing Doom a lot lately, and there has been a lot of talk about Doom as well, this is generally because of the latest DOOM game, yes DOOM (2016) another “reboot sequel” as I like to call it. You may have noticed I complain about this a bit specifically in my reviews of Alien vs Predator (2010) and Need for Speed (2015). But anyway I decided that before I played the latest Doom I had to go through and play all of the Doom series again which I sort of already have played most of it using the Skulltag Mod as per my post late last year. I had already played through Doom II: Hell on Earth many times, I played through The Ultimate Doom once with the Skulltag mod and have played through Final Doom’s TNT: Evilution and The Plutonia Experiment once each. While I was doing research for the post on the Skulltag mod and the Plutonia experiment I came across a video featuring the Brutal Doom mod and then after watching the video for the Hell on Earth Starter Pack I hit peak rage and knew I had to try it and wow, was it good, oh so good.

One of my favorite screenshots from the WAD, the lighting the graphics, the sky, the trees and the buildings all look amazing.
To explain a bit more the Brutal Doom mod was designed by the somewhat infamous Marcos Abenante aka Sergeant Mark IV and was originally designed to simply add more gore the mod, but now has had much more things added and changed such as the sounds, graphics, and combat including smoother animations and increased difficulty. I had actually heard of the mod a while ago but just dismissed it as a “gore mod” as it might just have been back then but now it’s so much more, it makes Doom look better than ever and brings it into the 21st Century and I reckon it does this better then all of the other mods I’ve seen. Brutal Doom features many new graphical effects, such as new death animations, fake flares and 3D blood effects for OpenGL, and also changes the gameplay by revamping the weapons and monster AI. It has been in active development since 2010 with the Sergeant going on to create Brutal Doom 64 a “brutalized” version of the N64 game and the mod itself has its own addons including the popular Project Brutality which further modernizes and enhances on the Brutal Doom Mod.

Lots of blood and guts, and this was only on the "realistic" setting
Although I did want to try out Brutal Doom on the original series I thought I may as well try it with the MegaWAD created specifically to be played with it, the Hell on Earth Starter Pack. To explain a bit of Doom Lingo a WAD file is a data file for Doom, MegaWAD are the most commonly referred to as they are a WAD that contains 15 or more levels, The entire Doom and Doom 2 were each a single MegaWAD so when the community refers to WADS it is usually a custom set of levels created by an individual. As I mentioned before the “Hell of Earth Starter Pack” is the MegaWAD created specifically to be used with Brutal Doom i.e. in order to progress through the levels you need to crouch, duck and jump all of which you could not do in the original Doom. One new feature in Brutal Doom is the ability to kick with the Q key, while this is a relatively useful way to knock enemies backwards it doesn’t know them back far but the ability is also used to activate some switches, in fact to get out of the room right at the start of the game you need to give the wall switch a whack with your boot , took me a while to work that out hah. 

The first level of the WAD, a good overview of whats the mod looks like the new features.

One thing I did find weird was that why Sergeant Mark IV had chosen to call it the “Starter Pack” I’m guessing that was because this is what you use when playing Brutal Doom or the first thing you should try I guess but a more appropriate name for it would have been “Brutalized Doom 1 and 2” as it actually re-creates the story of Doom 1 and 2 from the Invasion of Phobos and Deimos, to the return to Earth then the entry into Hell then back to earth again.. all contained in a huge 32 level MegaWAD. While playing through the game the graphics were great of course as per the mod, but what impressed me was the amount of detail put into the levels, the first few levels were in a space station for example but even so the computers looks like actually computers, the bathrooms looked like bathrooms the toilets looked like toilets you can even see yourself in mirrors. It wasn’t until I got to the part when you returned to earth that it really blew me away.

Oh look it's a kitchen
You see in the original Doom II you were technically supposed to be on earth as there were levels such as Downtown, Suburbs and Industrial zone that were supposed to resemble cities and towns but are basically just the normal Doom sci-fi, space base and generic themed textures arranged in shape of buildings/houses etc with nothing resembling a normal house inside. But in this mod when you first get to earth, there is grass, there’s trees, there’s rocks, there’s a normal looking cityscape and modern steel power lines. And when you get to the neighborhood it looks like an actual neighborhood with roads and footpaths and grass and trees and lampposts and the houses have full bedrooms with desks and computers and  even games consoles of all things and the city part is even more insane with full on office and tenement building and shopping malls and restaurants with fully stocked kitchens. It’s what Doom 2’s levels should have been like all along, and wow don’t get me started on the hellish levels which are now scarier than ever, the horrific "Sacrificial Grounds" level will remain etched in my mind forever not to mention the game's final boss.

The 'Twisted Neighbourhood" level, fighting through with other marines

I’ve mentioned before on my previous post with the Skulltag mod that Doom looks much better with the advanced graphics but Brutal Doom is something else, it looks amazing when you look at the before and after shots of the original Doom and Doom 2 then with the mod installed. Everything is as high res as the engine can go and the mod supports a full range of resolutions and graphical tweaking. You also have the option of playing with the monsters set to their original settings though I admit when you have full mouse and keyboard control it’s a bit too easy. As I mentioned before there is a wealth of new features added in the mod all of which you can read about on the Doom Wiki some of my favourites include the fatalities which you can perform on monsters and monsters can perform on you and I also like the fact that Invisibility spheres have been replaced with captured marines that can assist you and are quite capable themselves. 


One of the most epic moments from the game, the 'Push into Hell' level where you and the army invade Hell itself.

The weapon revamps are another good thing while not a weapon I love the new melee punching and kicking abilities, while the kick is not that effective the punching really feels good especially once you have the Berserk powerup where you can alternate between ‘Rip and Tear’ mode where you can perform fatalities on fallen enemies or ‘Smash’ mode where you simply smash them to pieces, I sometimes went through whole levels just smashing with my fists hah. The pistol has been replaced by an awesome very accurate assault rifle which comfortably matches the player sprite and is useful even late in the game and you can now pick up grenades from zombie soldiers which are very powerful doing even more splash damage then the rocket launcher. All of the other weapons have been revamped to look and sound hardcore, I almost winced every time I used the shotguns they were so loud, you can also now dual wield the assault rifle and plasma gun for even more damage. You can now also use the weapons from fallen enemies such as the Revenants missile backpack and the Mancubus flame cannon which was pretty cool. The new and revamped old guns were great, very powerful and sounded awesome along with the new death animations.


Smash Rip and Tear! you'll notice I do a fatality on the Cacodemon.

Heating it up with the Mancubus' flame cannon
 As mentioned before the monsters and demons move much faster and have new attacks making them more difficult to kill, I admit I was having trouble staying alive through the first part of the game, and when you get to the end of the first chapter and have your first boss fight I was getting slaughtered and eventually had to rely on god mode, which wasn’t too bad actually, playing the original series with god mode got boring but got better without it, but playing brutal doom without being invincible is goddamn tough so I wasn’t too ashamed to do it, plus I was going to see the entirety of this WAD if it was the last thing I did. I was amazed at the amount of effort that had gone into it, there were things that you would never dream of seeing in the original Doom, I’m no stranger to mods for games putting in new features but this was something else, from all new sprites of tanks and centaur-like demons to skyscrapers and hellish castles the starter pack had it all. In this episode it was probably the first time ever in Doom that you felt like you were not alone, there were lots of other marines, tanks, aircraft and even civilians at one point. The WAD I noticed had quite a bit of content and assets borrowed from other games including the civilian and tank sprites and some custom sounds one of which I recognized from Half-Life. It didn’t take me long to recognize the Quake 2 soundtrack as well which made some rather bangin music.

This is the 'Push into Hell' level again but I couldn't help including it as it looks awesome
I look forward to taking this mod further in conjunction with other mods including Project Brutality which adds even more new weapons and also maybe the HXRTC HUD as well as per Martinoz’ videos as there seems to be no end to mods for the original Doom, maybe it’s just because it’s so popular and easy to mod. I’ll never forget how I felt when playing the mod for the first time and seeing the changes and seeing the reimagined story of Doom and Doom 2 it just blew me away so hats off to Sergeant Mark IV for a great mod and campaign. I have decided to try and complete the Doom series finally having recently played Brutal Doom 64 which was also very good. Doom 64 is now actually considered to be the proper sequel to Final Doom though I will still play Doom 3 BFG edition for completeness before I play Doom 2016. In any case, if you have never played the original Doom and want something as modern as possible, this is the way to go.

JD


Get ready for one epic trailer.

This is Doom, but not as you knew it

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Past and Times of Yore - Armagetron Advanced, Light Cycle deathmatch staying true to the original Tron

Release date: 2001
Genre: Arcade
Publisher: None (Open Source)
Developer: Dave Fancella ("Lucifer"), "epsy", Fred ("Tank Program"), Jochen Darley ("joda.bot"), Luke Dashjr, Daniel Harple ("dlh"), Mathias Plichta ("wrtlprnft"), Manuel Moos ("Z-Man")
Platforms: Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows
Players: 1 and Online

They say that games based on movies are never good, though there are exceptions the obvious being Goldeneye 007 on the N64 of course. The tagline of Armagetron quite simply is "A Tron clone in 3D." though it was never meant to be a full story-driven gaming representation of the famous movie Tron. It was actually based on section of the 1982 arcade game of the same name by Disney Interactive Studios, which consisted of 4 subgames one of which being a representation of the ‘Light Cycle’ sequence from the film albeit in a format akin to the snake concept which the original Armagetron game was based back in 2001. The game has now evolved into Armagetron Advanced or simply Armagetronad which now features 16 player mayhem, with highly advanced AI, network game play, and of course all in a 3D environment and is available on a multitude of platforms including Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows, AmigaOS 4[2] and OpenBSD as free and open-source software. The game also has a decent online community with a Wiki Site and Forum.

A classic game with bots
Armagetron works in a similar way to the original Tron Light Cycle match that was in the original movie, let me point out right now that this has no relation to the recent sequel whatsoever as there is definitely only one flat surface with walls, no lower levels no inclines, no spiral no jumps or anything like that. You basically just use a and d to turn left and right and use v for braking (which makes you slower but you cannot stop completely) you can also use the numerical keys for looking to the left and right and behind you. Jumping in for a quick match against computer controlled opponents is fairly daunting as you start facing each other on opposite sides of the map and after a brief 5 second timer you’re off and hurtling toward each other at speed. If you’ve seen the film you’ll know the only way to eliminate an opponent is to somehow get them to crash into your, theirs or anyone elses ‘energy wall’ or simply just ‘wall’ that is generated by your light cycle eliminating them from the game, this is most often accomplished by just staying alive but there are many tricks including ‘boxing’ an opponent in with your walls or just dueling by traveling next to each other and trying to overtake.

A basic way of "boxing" or "speed killing" an opponent
 The basics of the game are this: in classic mode the ‘arena’ is a square box The ‘Light Cycles’ generate a ‘wall’ behind you that anyone can crash into including yourself, the cycle speed is fixed at first but works on a unique concept that a cycle can only accelerate by riding on another player's wall. The closer you are to a player's wall, the faster your cycle will accelerate. Brakes are provided, but they are disabled on many servers. Your cycle turns in right angles, typically, and leaves a long wall behind it wherever it goes. By default, movement keys are z and x, where z turns left and x turns right. v is your brake control. This stuff is fairly self-explanatory, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Turning slows your cycle down. This is a useful fact on servers that disable braking because you can use a series of rapid turns to slow your cycle down if needed. As already mentioned, you make your cycle go faster by getting close to another player's wall, or your own wall. The closer you can grind the wall, the more speed you will gain.There are of course more Advanced Tactics but I won’t go into those, you’ll find yourself creating your own tactics whether it be ways of avoiding players or taking them out.

I accidentally crash into myself :(
I’ll talk now about customization, almost anything in the game can be customized though I usually just stick with customizing the area and my cycle. There is a few things abound the arena that can be changed, you can add effects such as digital clouds and mirror effects which are a nice touch or you can make the game look as basic as possible to reduce your fps. The only thing you can change about your cycle is it’s colour which includes the colour of the wall you generate and of the cycle itself, I liked to choose a colour that is not currently being used by anyone else to make the match nice and colourful hah. The graphics in the game are fairly simple as you can see, you can run the game in your desktop resolution which is good, there is no music only the humming of the Light cycles and sound effects for turning, grinding and crashing. I had some fun with changing the size of the area and the speed of the game, it seems that the faster you go the more the game zooms out I guess so you can see where you are going.

A tiny arena
A very large arena :D
Historically I’ve only really played Armagetronad at LAN parties and only recently got into some multiplayer purely to grab some footage as I always forget to get any footage while at the lan. It’s a hit at parties as it’s easy to pick up, simple to play but challenging to master, and requires almost no hard drive space and graphical and processing power. We usually play just the basic Free-for-all classic mode where you try to speed kill other players and box them in with the only modifier being the “win” and “death” that appear late in the game in order to speed up the end of the match if it has become a stalemate. When a player drives into the ‘win’ they instantly win the match and the ‘death’ zone kills any player that enters it, these zones grow bigger until there is a decisive winner of the match though they are not often used at the same time.

I had no idea what I was doing in this multiplayer match XD
There are now many more modes of play or ‘gametypes’ including ‘Sumo’ where you have to stay in a circle and force your opponents out and Fortress: a complicated new game where you need to capture the enemy base. There is also some non-combat types I really want to try including racing, Labyrinth: where you navigate through a maze to get to the middle and Roulette: where multiple players create a "maze" Then try to navigate out.

This is supposedly a Labyrinth server but it was bloody impossible
There are of course many things I have not tried in Armagetronad Advanced but nonetheless it is a great game to play at Lan parties or even when you just want a bit of simple fun. The sheer level of customization, complexity for the experienced players and reasonably strong online community add to the longevity making this game well worth putting some time into.

JD

Some footage of me playing multiplayer and singleplayer Armagetronad including what I think is Fortress mode.

I just wanna ride my Light Cycle

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Hustlin' Through the Old Republic - Knight of the Eternal Throne, small flashpoints, big robots, am I finally the Emperor yet?

Hello again, it’s me JD here with more updates from my world of Star Wars the Old Republic or maybe my galaxy of. Anyway as you have probably read the Knights of the Eternal Throne 5.0 patch is now live bringing with it the next chapter in the Infinite Empire series, you’re now up against Vaylin and blah blah blah I’ll get to on my Jedi Knight later. You can also now level up to 70 which to be perfectly honest I couldn’t give a rats, I remember the first expansion in WoW where you could level to 70 and everyone lost their shit but even now in SWTOR I’m like mreh, I’m not quite sure why I think it was just the whole Epic/Flying mount and raiding thing when you got up to max level or maybe just the achievement of going the distance to make it to max level. But now in SWTOR you level so goddamn fast that you don’t even notice and also because SWTOR is much more story focused the milestones seem to come with the story more than the levels.

Knight of the Eternal Throne graphic

There is also the new Galactic Command system, this is basically your go-to screen for Endgame as you can access anything from Flashpoints to Galactic Starfighter, almost everything you do in the game now gives you “Command XP” I think it’s something to do with you having gained the Eternal Throne and are now in command of the galaxy or something like that. So anyway you gain command points and every new level you get Command crates which contain items including modded and unmodded gear, crew skills schematics, reputation items etc, these are quite useful and I have added quite a bit of custom gear to my legacy storage which I really need to use as it’s getting a bit crowded in that storage space. There is also the Dark vs Light system where you can choose to fight for the Dark or Light side of the force, this has no bearing on your character’s personal Force alignment so basically I just fight for the light side all the time, I suspect it may usually be the weaker of the bunch, you gain points in either side by doing pretty much anything and if your side “wins” you get a boost to command experience, it’s just a sort of passive system like when you used to wear a tabard to champion a faction in WoW, there are now new Dark and Light Side vendors and also bosses that appear around the galaxy as well.

The Galactic Command menu
So without further ado we start off with my Trooper who is currently up to level 55 and was starting out on Hoth which went well without a hitch, only thing notable to report was the recruitment of Yuun a Gand Findsman who was actually already in the Republic. It was around this time actually that I re-enlisted for the security key, for my SWTOR account, I figured I’d give it another try since I really wanted those companion appearance customizations , I’ve been using it on my phone again and haven’t had a problem since. So I decided I’d give some characters new looks just to be different from others, I gave M1-4X a new heavier more painted looking model and gave Yuun a new greenish tone look with removed mouth pipes, Aric Jorgan and Elara Dorne I left the same, Tanno Vik’s change was so minimal that I didn’t even bother.

Yuun, a Gand Findsman
So after Hoth it was time for the culmination of part 2 of the Trooper Storyline where Havoc Squad was tasked with the destruction of the Imperial Superweapon the Gauntlet which was one of those space station or ship missions in between the planets and we actually used that briefing room on the  BT-7 Thunderclap though I don’t know why we needed that many seats. This went pretty much as planned though it seemed depending on the choices you made one of your squad members would be seriously injured. It turned out to be Aric though I guess it wouldn’t have happened to Elara or M1-4X as that would have been out of character for them.

Is that two M14X's i see there? oh c'mon I know he's usually in this room but damn that's lazy


.


Is he really ok? the looks of him writhing around like that he didn't seem so good.

At this time I was using M1-4X as my tank styled bodyguard who is basically a Republic fanatic, I even garnered some Dark side points executing republic traitors though it felt good to do so, I then completed Directive-7 a long but worthwhile flashpoint about a droid uprising and had some fun with my guild members duelling on our flagship, it’s kind of sad now to think back to those times when they were actually around. The it was on to Chapter 3 where the Republic is now at war again as the Imperial General Rakton has invaded several Republic planets and Havoc squad is required to go to Belsavis to recover a squad of pilots called Dagger Wing which I did before finding out that my old squeeze Sergeant Jaxo is in trouble and I had to go rescue her and that’s about where I got up to on my Trooper.

Man Belsavis is a cool looking planet
So then it was back to my Bounty Hunter and I did Directive 7 yet again except this time in solo mode the only problem with this is you don’t get as good loot as if you were doing it with a group. It was then on to Alderaan and boy I had a lot of fun dealing with all the house and family drama on there. It was around this time that I started experimenting with different armor sets as I was a bit sick of what I was wearing currently and decided to try out some new gear. I always had this idea of making my character into a droid as it would be fun to play a droid character so when looking around I found out about the Cybernetic gear sets which were almost perfect though I had to choose the Series 212 Cybernetic as the better looking ones because others such as the Series 512 were hella expensive on the GTN. 

Well are you two gonna help or what?
So I tried out the set but found I didn’t really like it on my Bounty Hunter and would instead use it on my future Imperial Agent Sniper where I think it will look much better especially with that Sniper Rifle, very HK-51-esque. So went looking on the GTN and found some interesting looking pieces that looked sort of like some kind of ‘insect’ theme to it and it looked pretty cool when I painted it purple and orange, took me a damn while to decide which colour was primary but it looked good anyway. Though before long I did all of the heroic quests for the planet, which below level 60 give you new armor pieces which is pretty damn cool, so I ended up getting rid of that armor that I’d modded up and using the new stuff although that helmet makes both Mako and I look like we have KFC buckets on our heads. Speaking of heroics, I have found recently that when you hit level 60 the rewards for Heroics turn into supply crates which are used in the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion which to be honest are actually pretty damn useless to my character at the moment but on the flipside wew I can conquer more Star Fortresses XD.
 
The helmet actually has a moving 'jaw' under those tubes which is creepy
So anyway on Alderaan I was looking for someone called the “Durasteel Duke” but he ended up being dead already, after that I was ready for the final part of Chapter 1. So I was tasked with killing this Jedi and went to a ship and found my Arch Nemesis Tarro Blood in the ship’s brig, which I then had an interesting choice of fighting him or leaving him in the cell to die which I did much to Mako’s pleasure. After killing the Jedi I went back to good old Dromund Ass as was crowned the Grand Champion of the Great Hunt by that Wookie and soon I was off to meet Mandalore the Vindicated himself aboard his ship. On the ship there was a meeting between all of the tournament champions which was held by Mandalore, where he then instructed me to go BACK to Dromund Kass to kill this big monster and I happened to meet Torian Cadera so then I went back to good old ‘Mandy’lore  and then it was announced I now had access to the “Blacklist” a list of the most notorious high profile target which sends me to Taris which in the Empire side is in perpetual darkness for some reason where I’m looking for a man called Jincoln Cadera (yes he’s related to Torian) and do a bit of Enemy at the Gates style cat-and-mouse snipering wars. The Planet storyline involved a Sith Lord and his brat apprentice who is always trying to show you up which I remembered from doing it on my Sith Inquisitor and that’s basically where I finished up.


W00t I am now Mandalore the something! that ale doesn't look very black to me

It was now time for Guardians of the Galaxy 2! No actually it was time for Knights of the Fallen Empire (KOTFE), Empire style! yes it was time for my Sith Inquisitor to start the storyline for the Empire point of view. I’ll mention that I decided to give my Sith Assassin a slimming down as I originally had him as a large bodied character as he was supposed to be a tank but since I’m DPS on every single character now and don’t even need to bother tanking with groups I decided that a stealthy assassin would look much better with the average build instead of looking like He-man. Doing the KOTFE storyline from the Empire side wasn’t too much different apart from the start, there were only minor conversation changes etc, I actually went Dark side using Valkorion a few times.
Hi Maul, lookin good.
I also enjoyed finally getting out of my armor with that droid-like Citidel Duelist’s helm which I’m actually going to end up using with my droid outfit on my Assassin. It was fun to just take off random parts of the armor as they got upgraded just to see what it looked like. I ended up with some very non-Sith style military armor with an almost bucket-like helm but it was all a laugh and I could get new armor whenever I wanted though I wouldn’t bother as it’ll get upgraded again with the next part of the expansion. There was some special event on for killing Dread Master Bestia though my group wasn’t able to but I did find out I could disappear by using the vanish ability and save many a repair bill. I also did probably the most Star Fortresses I’ve done, more then on my Jedi and after that and defeating Arcann, that was it, speaking of Arcann, it was much easier after reading up on what to do.

Battle with Arcann on Asylum

My inspiring speech and meeting with Theran

Then it was time to get back on my moderately evil Jedi Consular Sage Qxan. I finished off Alderaan, I managed to get to be a representative of House Teral and gained access to the peace summit of the Alderaanian leaders in order to stop Jedi Master Sidonie Garen from starting an all out war. I killed her as usual for good measure and I can’t quite remember but I’m pretty sure I killed Bouris Ulgo this time at least I hope I did after letting him live all these other times, I’m supposed to be evil aren’t I? anyway. Then it was on to Tatooine without much ado successfully formed a group with others for all the heroic quests and I killed yet another Jedi Master who was under the control of Lord Vivicar who had a strong kinship with the sand people. 


I do some heroic quests on Tatooine, look at that do-rag looool

Soon after doing that Master Yuon Par and I had the breakthrough we needed and I boarded Vivicar’s ship and battled through the brainwashed Republic and Empire forces to get to him. When he was defeated however I was faced with a difficult choice. Vivicar had infected dozens of other Jedi Masters and if I killed him they would all die with him, or I could try to shield him as before and make myself weaker, well phuc dat, I killed the tard and indeed I did get a message for Master Syo Bakarn listing all of the Jedi that had perished because of this but screw it I’m hard as fack. Funnily enough this could not be further from what you actually sound like in the game as the male Jedi Consular sounds as straight and honorable as possible and playing a bad guy in some parts makes it all the more weird exactly like playing a good guy Sith, my Light/Dark ratio is more tilted to the Light Side but that’s because I’m always fighting for the Light side. After that I kitted myself out in some new armor and that was it.

I end Lord Vivicar like a boss, Qyzen approves.

Now after this you would have thought that I would go directly to my Jedi Knight to do Knights of the Eternal Throne, but no I was too excited to start an Imperial Agent and use my droid armor set which I mentioned earlier. I noticed that the character creation screen has been updated as per the change that required you to pick your advanced class straight away. I had decided long before to go Sniper as the Operative has similar sort of playstyle to my Sith Assassin but I’ll do that when I play a Smuggler, also an Imperial Agent Sniper is the only one which can use Sniper Rifles, so It was a no brainer really hah. I went with the Marksmanship as I wanted to be a full on Sniper and didn’t want to bother with droids or poisons though technically the Engineering tree might have gone well with my droid suit but meh I wanna strike from the shadows and take em down fast, and that’s exactly what I did.

The Advanced Class info screen when creating a character
The Imperial Agent starts on Hutta just like the Bounty Hunter, I walked into the same shitty cantina as last time and spoke to the leader of Sith intelligence ‘Keeper’, I was then charged with bringing Nem’ro the Hutt to the side of the Empire. I started off with one hellova gun for a starting weapon, looked sort of like a science-fiction version of a winchester Rifle. So I ran around and I shot a lot of people etc and I got my first companion the infamous Kaliyo Djannis who is quite the disrespectful bitch though so must you be if you want to curry favor with her which made for a bit of an annoying but fun experience with conversations. I decided to go with Armstech and Scavenging as the gathering skill (saving slicing for last on my Smuggler probably) generally these days because you level so goddamn fast trade skills don’t make things of much worth unless you get really high in them. I did The Black Talon and ended up killing the captain this time just for the hell of it which was a bit scary but meh had to see that version of the story and man killing that Jedi brat is damn satisfying. 

Well it's this shithole again ooh at least I got a sweet gun
 I arrived in Dromund Ass and decided that I now would try out my droid armor set which consisted of the Series 212 Cybernetic set and a similar style helm from the Brutal Executioner set which I paid a hefty 300,000 credits for. So I modded it all up then  painted the whole set black and white which looked pretty cool except unfortunately although your whole head was covered my voice still came out normal not with the static crackle when you were usually wearing a helmet. I think this may have been because it is actually a Sith helm and also someone did suggest a different helm, so ah well back to the drawing board there goes fackin 300k though but it’s not like broke the bank, I don’t really spend credits on much anyway. The quests I did do using that helm and armor set were fun looking like a droid, there was this ridiculous moment where I had to seduce a ministers daughter and we shared a kiss with me in my robo Sith helm and presumably had robo sex afterward, ouch heh. I mostly played with Kaliyo as a tank to distract the attackers so I could shoot them which worked well.
I still think that helm looks awesome lol
So I looked around for some more helms, I found a very “General Grievous” style helm one that this guy used to make a droid outfit though unfortunately it wasn’t an adaptive gear version, when looking on TOR Fashion which is a great resource for SWTOR gear details btw I found a helm called the Enigmatic Hero’s Mask worn very well in an outfit similar to mine by this guy, in fact I’ll probably be making something very similar as that helm looks damn good, though as it’s probably from a cartel pack hopefully I can find it and it’s not too expensive. Though the problem with modding up adaptive gear for a special outfit is that you always come across gear that is better but don’t want to change it cause you want the set, it’s part of that age-old dilemma of better-but-ugly gear vs worse-but-good-looking gear and the other thing was you get gear sets from doing heroics so there was that too. So I decided to leave my droid outfit till later and wear what I had, I also bought one of the Meirm speeders as it was cheap and a purple colour which suited my agent though he looked of silly.

Wooo silly looking speeder lol
 So continuing the story I met Darth Jadus, infiltrated Lord Grathan’s estate and then inevitably went into the Dark Temple to stop a terror plot then found that Darth Jadus ship had been blown up and this bloke called "The Eagle" a former Imperial fighter pilot was behind it. I was promoted to a Cipher Agent and got the X-70B Phantom ship which is freakin cool I might add possibly the sleekest coolest looking player ship in the game. Then it was on to Balmorra and I guessed that I’d just be hunting down associates of this Eagle fellow from now and I did indeed do that. I infiltrated a Terrorist cell on the planet, killed one of the Eagle Lieutenants and helped the Empire win Balmorra along the way. I did more heroics and went through more gear changes though I changed my rifle with one from the GTN as I was sick of using the same one.

Now that's a cool ship
I ran into an issue that there was currently an event on where you get triple xp or something ridiculous so I ended up breaking level 63 on finishing Balmorra. This was utterly ridiculous Balmorra is supposed to be levels 16-20 for facks sake, I kind of wished I hadn’t started my agent during this time especially when I was next going to be playing my Jedi Knight who was already at max level. Thank fack this isn’t world of Warcraft who don’t have the area-balancing feature so I’d be in an area for like a few quests before moving on either that or constantly be doing grey quests for shite all rewards. It’s taken away the joy of getting new abilities as at this rate I’ll be max level well before the end of chapter 1 and not be able to look forward to anything new. In any case that’s where I left off on my Agent and finally it was time for….

I did Cademimu on my Agent, one thing I had to get used to was one of the abilities bars changing every time you went into "cover" mode so when changing abilities you have to make sure you did both normal and "cover" mode.

Knight of the Eternal Throne! Yes it was a long time coming, but first I had to update my crew skills and give my armor a re-dye hahaha. ****BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD*** As I mentioned before Vaylin is now on the Throne with SCORPIO by her side the her first plan of attack was Voss so all the bros and hos from the Alliance rolled up to that planet and started kicking ass, it turns out that Vaylin chose Voss because she somehow knew that this is where Senya and had run to, to try and heal Arcann. I enjoyed the new ‘vehicle’ mechanic where you pilot an assault walker and kick ass along the way. We end up successfully defending Voss and receive a mysterious call from Darth Acina the new ruler of the Sith Empire and you travel or Dromund Ass for talks of a possible alliance, though while talking to her privately your shuttle is ambushed with suspected treachery from those who dislike the idea. So you skip and jump through the storm on Dromund Ass near to Ass City then kill those responsible. You then go to the planet of Iokath which was the original planet for the GEMINI droids, SCORPIO, the Eternal Fleet and the Gravestone and wow this place is so amazing and you find robots and monoliths and a whole bunch of other stuff and it’s very 2001 a Space Odyssey-esque almost. The planet is now run by this guy called ARIES but you defeat him then SCORPIO takes over and that’s the last we see of her for awhile. 


Piloting the big robot on Iokath, I enjoyed these new "vehicle" based sections as the broke up the usual routine of play.

While doing this I made a new armor set for myself and decided to use up some of my dyes so used an orange and light blue one which made myself look absolutely ridiculous but it was funny. There was an interesting mission next involving infiltrating Vaylin’s coronation party on Zakuul where you and Theron are disguised as Zakuul Knights and you had to sneak you way into the party and destroy it from within Mission-impossible style where you came face to face with Arcann and have another fight with Vaylin’s forces. Then you head to Nathema the Birthplace of the Emperor, where Valkorion sent Vaylin to be trained in the force to look for a way to stop Vaylin though you run into her again. 

I am arrested by the fashion police
When you get back the whole base on Odessen is being attacked by Vaylin’s forces and you fight your way through though you have to make a decision of which comrade to save with the other getting killed. I then had a final confrontation with Vaylin and defeated her with help from Arcann and Senya, woo. It wasn’t over then though you journeyed back to Zakuul with Arcann and Senya and go to the Eternal Throne where you then enter your own mind to ‘repair’ it and prevent Valkorion from taking over your mind. This battle was long and kind of complicated with all the different things you had to do but eventually you persevered and Valkorion was gone for good.

Myself as Valkorion inside my own mind
You then get the option of ‘Healing the Galaxy as a Peacekeeper” or “Ruling as an Emperor” and of course I went for the Light Side option for first go though it made little difference in the end. There is a kind of epilogue afterwards as patch 5.2 brought in a new storyline where the Empire and the Republic return to Iokath to obtain a “superweapon of unimaginable power” and you as the leading of the Alliance have to choose whether to aid the Republic or Empire, so I guess with the Eternal Empire gone it’s back to that is it? Oh well good to be back to normal, there was a very brief couple of story missions then it basically changed to dailies. It appears that Bioware are bringing back raiding as there is a new operation ‘Gods from the Machine  based on Iokath but the only boss so far is only the God of Rage ‘Tyth’. I’m glad to see these features back as hopefully maybe my old guildmates will return, I haven’t really done any operations at all lately the last one being probably failing at Bestia. There are still places that I have to complete or even just see for the first time notably The Dread Palace, The Ravagers, Temple of Sacrifice and the new one on Iokath of course. Doing operations isn’t my forte, but I like seeing all the content at least once

The Eternal Alliance! Looks like they forgot to pose Senya, also I got some better looking armor for my position thankfully
 So now we come full circle back to my Trooper, I usually just go through all the characters only once in a post but since this is where I left off in the Subscription I may as well detail what I have done. So I finished off the Belsavis bonus series then hopped off the planet where I found I had to rescue some prisoners of war including my old fling Sergeant Jaxo which was apparently a trap set by that bstard General Rakton . Then I had this agonizing choice of saving her or all the rest of the prisoners, though it wasn’t that hard I was with Elara now so felt that I could now let go of Jaxo, and it was the right thing to do as well. 

Kapow! (I like this shot)
I then decided then I really needed a new armor set as I was sick of the silly looking outfit with the ‘radioman’ scout backpack and the hat with goggles and earmuffs, I annoyingly had to start Voss before doing this and level up to 65 so I could get the best mods. So after doing this I purchased the Stalwart Protector set from the Cartel Market and bought a helm from the cartel market. The helm was a bit shabby and battle-damaged looking for the set but it looked alright, I also got the Czerka CZX-4 Blaster Rifle as I had been wanting to use one of the Czerka weapons for ages but was just put off by the green colour. In response to this I actually coloured the highlights on my armor a Dark green to match it and it ended up looking pretty good. I actually found that there was an “adaptive gear vendor” on the fleet, which sold adaptive gear sets for all classes, so I could use them as well as the Cartel Market and GTN if I needed a new armor set. 

My new armor and Czerka blaster rifle
So then I swaggered back to Voss and was dealt with another political situation where this uppity-ass Senator who was keeping Troops near the planet in firm belief that the Empire was going to invade. So I did the usual Voss storyline as well as winning the favour of the Voss from the Empire who was up to no good. Unfortunately when I finished I had not yet done the heroics as I could not get anyone to do them with me though I guess it doesn’t matter that much as you only receive supply crates after level 65. So that was that really my subscription ran out in good timing, next up is Coreillia and the conclusion of my class storyline for the Trooper, this will be my third one now and looking forward to it.

A mission in a cave on Voss

Well hoooweee that’s one hell of a post right on 4500 words! Well I guess it’s been a while between posts, well I guess it has been almost exactly one year since the last one so it’s basically summing up a year’s playing. Well get ready people cause Knights of the Fallen Empire is finally over and we’re back to the good old Republic vs Empire and operations woo, hopefully we see a lot more people coming back to the game but only time will tell…

JD

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Gotta love that music

Squeaky droid makeouts

Friday, 21 April 2017

My Usual Spiel - Need for Speed 2015, The always-online-car-culture series reboot

Release date: November 5, 2015 (PS4 & Xbox One)
March 17, 2016 (PC)
Genre: Racing/Arcade, Open World
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Ghost Games, Criterion Games
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Players: 1 and Online

It’s been a while since I’ve played a new Need for Speed game, with Carbon being the last I have certainly skipped a few and just kept playing Carbon at least three times. No less than eight Need for Speed titles have passed before I decided to get back on the horse and try one out again. As I detailed in my previous review of NFS Carbon my new super and classic car simulator was Test Drive Unlimited and now Test Drive Unlimited 2, well it was, I have previously finished it 3 times already and in my latest playthrough I managed to accidentally delete my save which was disappointing but I guess that’s that, I ain’t doing it all over again especially with Forza Horizon 3 on the er horizon, well actually I can’t even make that joke cause it’s out now. I was sad that I stuffed up my last dwell into Test Drive Unlimited but I am getting excited about Forza though it will be the first Forza Motorsport game I have played so I have no idea what to expect.


Racing my Lambo, looks good but It wasn't me best driving, just trying to stay in control of the damn thing.

But anyway this review isn’t about NFS Carbon or Test Drive Unlimited or Forza Horizon it’s about Need for Speed that’s right “Need for Speed” as I lamented once before they are going down the “Alien vs Predator” naming convention though this is actually supposed to be a “reboot” of the series, not a sequel. The meaning to that was partly that the previous Need for Speed Underground games Need for Speed: Most Wanted  and Need for Speed: Carbon were both part of a loosely connected plot where you ‘the player’ were involved, the series actually culminated with NFS Carbon so basically you’re now a new “player” in the game and possibly the next games will continue the story. So in this review I will be referring to the game as “Need for Speed 2015” as that’s the easiest way to remember it. I knew before I bought that game that the reviews weren’t exactly that good, people were canning the “always online” feature which in case you didn’t know the game cannot be played offline and it also cannot be played with just you, there are always other players zooming around and probably crashing into you. Other issues included having only dusk to dawn racing, rubber-banding AI, lacking an in-car view, performance issues due to the always-online requirement on all platforms, the inability to pause the game, having no manual transmission, and lacking drag races (the latter two being added in an update). Another thing that was panned was the too-short story which featured cringeworthy live-action FMV scenes and constant annoying GTA4-esque phone calls.


My first or probably second drag race, I still didn't have much of an idea how to do it, sort of like the duels in Red Dead Redemption.

The game merits were in the graphics, as when I first saw the game I remember thinking “wow” that is pretty damn good but that was basically all that I was impressed about, the funny thing was I actually wanted to see all of the FMV videos as they looked pretty damn funny based on the trailer. So I decided to get the game and doing so I decided to finally try out getting it via a “CD” keys site as I had heard this was much cheaper than buying online, especially from Origin. I used the site www.cdkeys.com and must say I was impressed by the service. I purchased the code and it was sent to me quickly I was able to enter it with little to no fuss, there are other sites but I have only ever used that one and it has been fine for my purposes. I had to complete one last round of Need for Speed: Carbon before playing this and as I had back in 2015 it was right to go, though do expect a few comparisons between the two in this review as always with sequels hah. 

Wrong way down a one-way street.
So, the story, well basically you start off the same way you always have (almost) in the fictional city of Ventura Bay, a rainy seaside city that you unfortunately don’t get to see in the daylight. It’s a controllable intro as in previous games and you are pushed right into the action racing with some random until you come to a stop under a highway and meet Spike (via an FMV cutscene) the first of the major characters who is impressed by your driving and tells you to go meet Travis at his garage which is a short trip away, I immediately had problems with the controls as is seems my Logitech PS3 style gamepad didn’t officially register as an actual controller it registered as a steering wheel for some weird reason so I tried to use that but it just didn’t work right as different buttons were used for acceleration  and hanging up the phone etc and then two buttons were meshed into one and it was goddamn annoying. I saw that the control display screens were an xbox controller so I just thought screw it and went out and purchased a cheap $20.00 wired xbox 360 controller for the PC and yes I said xbox 360 not xbox one they were too expensive and were similar anyway and once I plugged that in it worked much better.

Revving it up in the intro, the ui is quite minimal at this point.
Once you drive to the garage the next FMV cutscene starts and here is where you meet the rest of the crew and get a sneak peek at the fairly high profile world car-scene celebrity driving icons that the game features including Magnus Walker: a Porsche collector and modifier, Ken Block: a professional hoon, Akira Nakai: the founder of Rauh Welt Begriff a Japanese tuning shop, Shinichi Morohoshi: a Lamborghini tuner with ties to the Yakuza and the Risky Devil street drifting team. So basically you meet the rest of the crew including Travis, Robyn, Amy and Manu with each one idolizing one of the icons. You do all of this walking around as basically a camera as it is all done through your eyes in first person occasionally seeing your hand and arms as you fist bump or cheers others. Now I know that the game does this to immerse you as if you were playing as yourself which works with other games such as Skyrim for example where everyone is relatively formal and in awe of you it doesn’t really matter that they don’t refer to you by name they just refer to you as the ‘Dragonborn’ or whatnot which works as you’re in a medieval fantasy world and everyone acts accordingly and you can see yourself and respond, without a voice of course but it’s at least something. But here where it’s set in modern times it’s a kind of depressing experience where everyone talks to you but you can’t talk to them, you can’t express yourself in any way apart from your hands, I spent half the time wishing I could get with one of the girls or a random girl or at least have a girlfriend though that’s going into VR porn territory I suppose.

Thankfully someone has put together all of the cutscenes in the game for your viewing pleasure, I got many a laugh from these with all the bad acting and product placement. Thanks to Cakechievables for the video since once you finish the story mode you can't start again unless you want to delete all of your previous progress.

So basically you then undertake a series of Missions with each mission set part of a Driving icon’s style of choice including speed, style, guild, crew and outlaw so for example Manu is interested in the ‘style’ type of racing and idolizes Ken Block so all of the missions he gives you are in the gymkhana (or motokhana) style of racing with the series culminating with meeting Ken Block himself and beating him in a race. This goes on with intervals of FMV scenes of you meeting various crew members at different places for short amounts of time before you go off and drive again. There isn’t really any goal in the game except to just get to the end of all the styles and meet every driving icon which makes the game kind of short as people were complaining about, most of the time I was debating about when I would buy a new car and how I would upgrade it but I’ll go into that later.

The "My NFS" section in the main menu featuring my career progress.


Oh yeh I'm a speed demon, in order the icons are Speed, Style, Outlaw, Build and drift

So after all of the intro you find yourself choosing your first car and I decided on the 1990 Ford Mustang Foxbody as it looked cool compared to whatever the others were and I got started on customizing it. I was very interested to see how the visual customization works as it is one of my favourite parts of the Need for Speed series. There are a fair few customization options, the same if not more than Need for Speed Carbon, almost every part of the car can be customized though it depends on which type of car you have for example you can modify all the usual things like custom bumpers, side skirts, hoods, wheels and spoilers, some cars could be modified with more complicated things like Diffusers, Bumper Canards and enlarged Fendersall of which I’ll admit I didn’t know what they were until I saw them. It’s a fairly minimal experience when customizing as the part options come up as dots and the camera swings around the car as you search through them and edit the parts you want, as before most parts are locked but you can quickly unlock them by doing the story mode.

You can see the dots on nearby parts of the car.
I had another controller issue where I could not access certain options when customizing my car for example I was unable to put decals on cause I lacked the option to “confirm” also the control options that came up around the screen were incorrect as what was supposed to happen was the controls displayed differently if you started using a keyboard or controller (similar to GTA5) but they did not, almost as if something was triggering the controller. Then after consulting the EA forums I realized by troubleshooting that it was my other controllers that were causing the issue so I unplugged them then I was finally all good to go. I added some random body mods including a protruding engine from the bonnet and a spoiler, with the painting and decals I dressed my first car up pretty ridiculously, I loved the look of the chrome style paint as it looked amazing with the graphics all shiny etc so I added that in a lime green colour and added some random stripe decals then I decided to do it up like some sort of Bogan Aussie car. So I added an Australian flag decal on the back window, added my initials on the side and sold bronze/gold chrome wheels. The end result looked pretty ridiculous but I was happy with it as it was only the first car, I didn’t bother with any more decals including brand names as this was just my first car.

Bogan Aussie car lookin good heh
The next part was where it got a bit complicated with the Performance Parts as there are 21 different kinds of parts most of which I didn’t know what the hell they are or what they do including things like a Differential and Intake Manifold though they have some very informative text there explaining this, not that it makes any difference it’s just interesting to know. There are also 7 stages of each part Sport, Sport+, Performance, Performance+, Race, Race+ and Elite, though not all parts have all of these stages for example the Engine Block has all of them, the Exhaust Manifold only has the 4 main ones and the Handbrake only has two. In previous NFS games I had about 3-4 cars per playthrough and I made sure that each one had a certain level of upgades to match where I was in the game, so with all these different upgrades and no “upgrade all” button I was pretty lost on what to do. I tried out getting all of one type of upgrade for each car but because there were so many thing to upgrade and not all of them had all of the different stages of each part. So I think for next time I’m just going to make it simpler by just upgrading everything to whatever max I have available, that’s what I did in NFS Carbon anyway. Speaking of changing my car the other issue was that all cars were unlocked right from the start, your only limitation was the amount of funds you have. So when choosing a new car I had to do a bunch of writing and maths to work out which cars I could afford to buy and also upgrade without breaking the bank, well at least I’m a money-conscious street racer.

Performance upgrades screen
Most of the unlocks to the performance parts are from your Reputation level though these are not the only thing "Rep" unlocks. You earn reputation as you perform driving maneuvers, stunts, feats, and destruction, the feats in themselves are all part of the 4 styles with driving in the oncoming lane giving you rep with Morohoshi and the outlaws for example. The more rep you gain the more performance parts and also race events you unlock.  Interestingly you also have a cameo appearance from Eddie who you may remember from Need for Speed: Underground he is back with his Eastsiders gang in Ventura bay as part of the Legends Update which features Eddie challenge series, a series of events leading up to racing Eddie himself again .

I did well for rep on that race.
And then you got to the Tuning menu where you could tweak various things about your car, though to be honest most of them are about putting the car in ‘Drift’ or ‘Race’ mode for example adjusting everything so that the car is more twitchy and slides around throwing the back out easily or making it hug the ground allowing you to carve smooth straight lines when racing, and of course if you wanted to go either way it created an issue. One thing about this game is that there are a fair few drifting events in it as both the ‘Style’ and “Crew’ storylines were pretty much all about drifting and showing off for points  but the ‘Speed’ storyline was all about racing mostly long straight tracks as fast as possible in a time trial or race. The problem here is that say I want to do a bunch of races all in a row, each of which have different types of racing am I going to go back to the garage and change around my car for each one? Hell no, even if you decide to do a bunch of speed races then a bunch of style races the ‘Build’ and ‘Outlaw’ races are a mixed bag so it’s really not gonna work. I ended up having to make my car as balanced as possible leaving almost everything toward the middle of the dial, even having to leave on the stock tyres after realizing that the upgraded ones were either for grip or drift. I swear sometimes it’s hard for casual car fans like me.

The tuning menu
The game’s open world acts similarly to previous NFS games you drive out your garage and are immediately able to drive to most areas in Ventura bay, the map itself is pretty big, laid out with multiple freeways across a large bay leading to different parts of the city with some hilly areas with less interconnected roads similar to the topmost area in Underground 2’s Bayview city which allows for lots of drifting action and of course is where most of the drifting takes place. There are many collectibles sprewn about the city including spots where you are encouraged to perform a donut and it’s pretty cool when you perform ones and it shifts to another camera angle so you don’t get dizzy, there is also free car parts which you can find and add to your collection to modify your cars. There are photo opportunities where you can take pictures of your car next to street art or picturesque locations which are kind of ruined by the rain and darkness but anyway.


Wooo donuts and photo ops, I need practice donuting :(

Playing through the game wasn’t too hard the controls were pretty much the same as before, I had trouble doing a perfect start on the Drag races as I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing and at the start it didn’t really explain properly so I really gotta read up on that before my next playthrough. I had a bit of trouble balancing the car between race and drift, drifting although similar to other Need for Speed games still took a bit of practice to master  I finished every storyline off eventually meeting all of the driving icons after a bunch of awkward calls and FMV sequences and it was pretty cool, actually I didn’t see all of them as I didn’t do the outlaw missions mainly because I hate dicking around with the police it’s just dangerous and tiring and can hurt your wallet and is just not worth it, just like doing it in real life hah.

It's Nakai-san! Will you just give him a blowjob already Amy? Damn the way these people crap on about their icons I swear I wish this game had more profanity and smut.
Modifying my cars got better as I went on I chose for my next car a Honda NSX Type-R and decked it out with a cool looking bodykit and painted it a dark purples chrome paint with sort of beetroot coloured decals. I also decided on the format of where my manufacturer name text decals would go, as per my Underground 2 designs there would be one on each sides of the doors or side skirts (or both) one each on the er spot above the back wheels, one on the back window and also one on the front window this time as I thought it looked pretty cool if you got it right. My next two cars were an Porsche 911 GTS RS and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP 640-V SV which I was very much looking forward too. I was very happy with the designs for both of them as I think I got it just right with the minimal contrasting colours with the Porsche and the blending ice-theme of the Lambo, I also chose not to have bodykits on both of them as they both already looked great. Lastly I created this ridiculous looking golden painted Volvo 242 DL which was pimped out to the max, in fact I constantly got reputation for having the "Most tuned car" in a race.

I like this shot of my pimped out Volvo hah
Probably the most celebrated and praised thing about this version of Need for Speed was the visuals, the game looked absolutely fantastic even though I did ridicule the way that it always seemed to be either raining or damp in Ventura bay specifically so the game could show of its water shine and reflection details but yes it did look pretty damn amazing. The game was most definitely the best looking NFS game I had seen and the best looking cars I had seen, even without the neon, come to think of it neon hasn’t been in since Need for Speed Underground 2, sound systems as well, apparently there is supposed to be a sound system available in this game but I never had a car which you could put one in. Anyway back to the graphics, I must admit as cheesy as the acting in the FMV sequences were they were done well and looked the part I liked the fact that your own cars were superimposed into the scene and the characters were able to walk in front of it etc, which was pretty cool. The game sounded fine with the engines and the tyres screeching and everything else though I really enjoyed the music the most with a bangin techno, alternative, RnB and hiphop soundtrack and even got some tunes for my compilations from it.


This is a short clip but the sunset in the mountains is beautiful

As the game was "always online" I did literally run into a few other players, as the annoying thing is unlike other open world racing games like Test Drive where you can encounter other players around the world but not in races unless you invite them. In Need for Speed when you start a race you're still in the game world and you can see other human players and they can see you and can "invade" your race by crashing into you or your computer +opponents. Sometimes it was hard to determine who was an actual player and who was computer controlled though you can see actual players because of their Origin account picture but there were actually other computer controlled street racers out there. As well as that, looking at the map of the area you can see other players doing an actual race event as you can see their own group computer controlled players racing along with them.

If you look closely here, you can see the player "jir01" doing a race with computer opponents.
I once did a Drift train event around a small dock area with other computer controlled cars while at the same time another player was doing the same thing with his group of racers while going in the opposite direction I would have been annoyed if I wasn't having so much fun. Could you imagine a full server of people doing this? though I guess it's limited to a certain amount of people at one time. I also tried out the "Speedlists" or whatever the hell it was but I didn't get many players to race with so just gave up, I was a bit late to the party with this game unfortunately though there were still a few people around in the game world, one of the best features was that you could invite anyone into the current race you were starting as part of the story mode which was cool to race with others but sometimes counter-productive as they could be laggy or crashy hampering your race but it's all good fun and you have the option to go on your own anyway.

Drift Trial with other racers, I had a bit of trouble keeping up heh

This game was probably the most car culture focused with all of the car culture celebs and the real-life brands and even EA’s real-life car enthusiast group Speedhunters and it shows from the very street-racer centered story. Overall the game was a good play for me but as always the first run through is most often the worst and the real fun comes in the second, third or even fourth run through, it’s been given a bad rap for being always online and too short but I reckon it was ok. I’m very interested in playing it again properly after I have worked everything out, this was especially true with carbon and will be for this game as well.

JD


Need for speed PC Reveal Trailer

Can I not be a jack of all trades?