October 10, 2015

Hands-On With The Star Wars Battlefront Beta

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Our staff played a combined 10 hours of the Star Wars Battlefront beta on Windows PC this weekend and are ready to share their field reports. It should be noted that these are early impressions based upon a beta build of an un-released game and as such the final game may address some of the issues we are about to discuss.

Fionna Fox’s Impressions

IT happened at 11:35 on the second day of the beta, with a slight almost cash register type of sound I bought the last item available for unlock in the beta. I had done it! I had beaten the Star Wars Battlefront beta. But I wanted to keep playing -that’s how good it is, I kept going without any incentives, any unlocks, or even the promise of in game rewards.

Let’s start with the basics, the game is beautiful, on the highest graphics settings it looks like a brand new hi-end game (not really surprising here since it hasn’t seen a retail release yet). I’m playing on a 1080p monitor at 1920×1080 resolution and I still get awed when I take a look at the vista of Hoth. The Sound design is AMAZING, it sounds like you are in a star wars movie.  Without even having ever gotten to game play the game already feels FANTASTIC, it has the shiny look of a modern game, with a Star Wars skin on top. That alone will be enough for lots of players, but it manages to back it up with gameplay as well.


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Dragon Age: Inquisition Game of the Year Edition | Review

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Kenny Keelan

Dragon Age is another in a strong list of BioWare franchises that has a strong, loyal, and sometimes fierce following; when games in their franchises try to hit a massive audience outside of their core user base things often get kind of messy and, unfortunately, as a result, good standalone games and franchise entries get dragged through the dirt. Inquisition is one of those games and, in an effort to try and re-establish itself with that wider audience and show some loyalty to its core audience, BioWare releases a Game of the Year edition to give those who either haven’t played the game at all or haven’t engaged in any of the extra content that’s available for the game.


dragon_age_cover (1)

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Like most AAA role playing games, the first twenty minutes is almost purely exposition and introduction to the setting, the characters, and the gameplay: what you’re getting and what you’re introduced to is a blending of the previous titles in the franchise and looks to wrap everything up. Even if you’re a newcomer to the series, there’s not a noticeable detriment to coming into the franchise as you have options; you can either work with the default world state or you can experiment on Dragon Age Keep, a website that ties into your Origin account and allows you to mess around with world states, which is really cool. Due to circumstances out of my control, Dragon Age Keep allowed me to recreate the world state in saves I had used in previous titles.

Introduction to combat doesn’t happen without too much hand-holding and it’s done within the narrative so it doesn’t feel as though it creates too much of a interruption in the experience. The first bit of this game is exactly what I expected to see from a BioWare title.

In my humble opinion, they took everything that succeeded in both of the former titles in the franchise and blended them together to provide the framework that this game is built around. BioWare knows that if they have a vision they know how to bring it to life and that’s something they’ve done for as long as I’ve known them and their role playing games have been spot-on for this. Inquisition is absolutely no different in this as it provides an experience that feels just as great at being a game as it is a wonderfully presented narrative.

One of the largest things that stand out for this game is that it was made with two ideals in mind: broad appeal and taking advantage of current generation technology. It’s very clear that they’re trying to create a singular type of experience and if you’re a fan of the franchise like I am, this is exactly what you want. I came in with a certain set of expectations and I feel that Inquisition hit every one of them. I feel that one could dive in as any kind of player and feel that you could be immersed relatively quickly.

The graphical and audio presentation is extremely satisfying – on current generation consoles, the game looks, feels, and sounds marvelous. Voice acting is very well done and, surprisingly so, the lip sync is actually done pretty well, most times. There’s rarely any slowdown.

Its greatest strength, however, is also its greatest failings: I feel that the experience does not transfer over in the same way into previous generation’s systems. The appeal is so broad that, at times, it feels watered down. It’s clear to me that Inquisition was tailored for a very specific experience and everyone else that has any different demands from the game gets to suffer.

There are trivial issues that I could list off that are nothing more than just pet peeves but there are enough of them to note that I feel they should not be featured in the game the way that they have been: the worst of all is the removal of mana and healing magics. This means that, between rest stops and reload points, you’re limited to a certain number of healing potions and that is it. That’s creating a false sense of difficulty and that’s a terribly lazy design choice. In previous generation systems, there are a massive amount of pathfinding and collision detection bugs that can break the experience of traveling between locales. Story progression happens in spurts and the spots in between those spurts really only cater to those who greatly enjoy the lore of the franchise.

While this defines me, gameplay and story progression only rewards those who greatly enjoy both. If you feel that one or the two are lacking, it will taint the other experience. This game would be awesome if only it were way more refined, smooth, and immersive.Read More


Fallout 4’s Minimum Specs Might Leave Your PC In Ruins

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Bethesda’s absolutely massive open world roleplaying game (that some people have successfully argued isn’t a roleplaying game but rather a society simulator) is due out in exactly a month and now we know the minimum PC Specs as well as the hard drive requirements for console players. Get ready to check your graphics cards and clear out your hard drive because the nukes are about to fall!

In terms of minimum PC specs these numbers aren’t so bad – the Phenom II 940 is a rather old processor from about five years ago and anyone who’s upgraded their graphics hardware should meet the minimum standards of a 550 TI 2GB or Radeon HD 7870 quite easily. More concerning for me (since I am primarily an AMD devotee) is the obviously overclocked recommended processor speed of a staggering 4.7GHZ with a 4GB graphics card.

Between Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront’s daunting system specs I think I’ll be going for the PS4 versions of both games. I am a little disappointed in Fallout 4’s minimum specs to be honest, I know my gaming rig is only a mid-range setup but I barely meet the recommended specs and I am not about to overclock my processor to nearly 5GHZ to play this game. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to trying out some of the cooler mods on PC, as Fallout 3 had great mod support.

In terms of console players the base game will require 28 – 35 GB of hard drive space, which isn’t too bad. For more details make sure to head over to Bethesda’s official blog post about the minimum requirements for Fallout 4.

PC Systems Requirements (Requires Internet Connection and Free Steam Account to Activate)

Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz or equivalent
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or equivalent

Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i7 4790 3.6 GHz/AMD FX-9590 4.7 GHz or equivalent
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB/AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB or equivalent



WARNING Critical NetGear router Exploit discovered.

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

NETGEAR routers have again become the victims of a DNS monitoring exploit. Potentially affecting 11,000 Devices. Site thehackernews.com first posted about A Vigilante Hacker, who protected users by installing malware on their Wi-Fi routers, forcing them to use a secure password.
A few days later a security researcher (name not given) claims to have discovered a series vulnerability in the routers of the same model.  The exploit has been published as of today check out this link to see details on this vulnerability in Netgear routers. 
The real meat of this exploit is that it allows hackers to change Domain Name System (DNS) settings of victims’ routers to the malicious IP address.
One security researcher Joe Giron, gave the details of his experience to BBC, “The admin settings on his personal router have been modified on 28 September.”
Specifically, Domain Name System (DNS) settings on his router were changed to a suspicious IP address. The result of which was the hacked router was sending web browsing data to a malicious Internet address. Giron said “Normally I set mine to Google’s [IP address], and it was not that, it was something else, For two or three days all my DNS traffic was being sent over to them.”
Giron contacted Netgear about the serious issue, to which they replied that the vulnerability discovered their products is ‘serious,’ but “affects fewer than 5,000 devices.
Perhaps more troubling is that Giron then SHUT OFF his router as NETGEAR did not have an available patch for the exploit. Jonathan Wu senior product director at NETGEAR said  “”Is it serious? Yes, it definitely is.” and suggested users not use their devices untill a firmware patch planned for October 14th can be pushed to effected devices.  NETGEAR has not released a list of effected devices, however they say it is less than 5,000 units.



Half Life Three confirmed? (probably not but there is at least a hint in the new DOTA update)

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

Late last night news broke on Reddit.com’s DOTA2 subeddit that the Steam Data base twitter had found a file named hl3.txt in DOTA 2 Reborn update. The file contained three relevant bits when it was unpacked

These three files (links go to github) contain a large number of Interesting things including references to zip-lines, NPC behaviors (squad based information sharing), and Random level generation, the specifics are in the github but the files of interest are

  • “Attribute.prop_zipline.max_ride_speed”
  • “NPCs that are in the same squad (i.e. have matching squad names) will share information about enemies, and will take turns attacking and covering each other.”
  • “A permanent squad member cannot leave the player\’s squad unless killed or explicitly removed by entity I/O. Only use this if you\’re sure you want to override the default AI.”
  • “If you want your citizens to squad with the player but not obey commands the player gives to move the squad, put a concept here and this citizen will speak the concept instead of obeying the order.”

so does this mean we get HL3? or is Valve up to its old tricks again? Who can know but I for one will not be betting on it.




Twitter To Layoff 4000 Staff

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Reports have surfaced that Twitter is planning to layoff over 4,000 staff members and cancel a major expansion to their San Fransisco headquarters. The reason behind these cuts – spearheaded by the company’s new CEO – are an effort to curb rising operating costs and a lower stock price.

How will this affect users of the popular social media site and its plan to move beyond the 140 character limit is unclear at this time. Recently Twitter has talked about expanding the amount of characters – giving users more room to express themselves.

Do you use a lot of Twitter, readers? I’m a bit of a Social Media junkie with well over 12,000 tweets to my name. I’ve made some of my very best friends via Twitter and I’m sad to see a lot of people about to lose their jobs 🙁



Xbox Boss wants 360 games to play on PC

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

In a press conference in Brazil Phil Spencer head guru of Xbox, said

“[Xbox games on Xbox One is] something I want to do, but it is a matter of priority. I would love to have the ability to play Xbox 360 on PC at some point too, so we have different things we have to think about when we plan these things. But it would be great to have support for original Xbox games. So yes, I want it, but we have many other things we want to do as well.”

His words suggest that the ability to play Xbox 360 games not just on the Xbox One but also on the PC. This would seem to be leaning towards the recent Microsoft philosophy of one a unified application structure. There has been plenty of talk recently of playing Xbox One games on Windows 10 PCs and of a Unified architecture but this is the first time we have heard anything of the often neglected Xbox 360 getting this type cross platform play.



Broken Deals: Target offering $350 PS4 With $50 Gift Card and Uncharted Collection or Last of Us

Posted on October 10, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

(Editors note: Broken deals is a new segment where the writers and editors of Brokenjoysticks try to bring you our audience the best deals on gaming stuff)

This morning brings a great deal from our friends at Target: The newest PS4 price drop plus a 50$ gift card and a free game. This comes at a time when the system has just announced a 50$ price drop to its MSRP and so essentially you get the system for 100$ of the previous MSRP and a free game.

this is an unprecedented move by Target, who usually offer bundles with games, to offer a gift card as well. The deal does not include the newer bundles such as the BlackOps 3 bundle and the Star Wars Battlefront bundle. Head on over to Target to take a look



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