IDL SHORT – Truth and Justice

The following is a short recap of the events that took place during the Truth and Justice campaign mission in Far Cry 4 – and how not to play the mission.


Truth and Justice

Today I killed Pagan Min, which was neither what I wanted to do, nor expected to do. I resent Pagan Min, don’t get me wrong; he has done many terrible things to the people of Kyrat, but I was not wholly ready for this task.

This very evening I had been summoned to a sizable village called Utkarsh to meet with some of the rebel leaders. I enter one of the larger houses and make my way towards the hidden stairwell, past a misaligned bookshelf. The family upstairs is a front, and the basement has a hidden staging area where some of the higher-ups are meeting. After the bookshelf has been secured and stairs hidden, I start downward to the sounds of voice chatter and know a meeting is already underway.

Mon_Apr_20_20-47-50_PDT_2015It wasn’t long after joining the meeting that I hear the screech of halting tires, followed by feet crunching through gravel and the front door of the house upstairs being kicked in.

The flamboyant and unmistakable Pagan Min brazenly enters, flanked by two soldiers and immediately starts questioning the scouts who live here. I hear the commotion, as do my comrades, and our dialogue stops. Creeping under the false floor, I lift a trap door to watch the confusion unfold.

Min’s discomposure is evident, roiling underneath his calm, perfectly groomed exterior as he compliments the family’s home, commenting on their hospitality. His words are muffled so I don’t pick up exactly what he’s saying, but clearly he is leading them to a false sense of security. In a flash of smug satisfaction he storms out, and his falseness is proved true by his twin guards and the muzzles of their assault rifles. In a burst of gunfire, our stand-ins are downed and the guards leave in a huff.

Disgust and anger flood over me as I witness this all-to-common Kyrat atrocity first hand, and vault up through the floor and out the door, scarcely looking at the fallen family. Min is already in his jeep driving down the nearby hill, but his guards are still patrolling. Or were, as I quickly gun them down in my haste to reach the edge of the slope to see where King Min is off to.

My fellow rebellioneers are yelling something at me as I spy the gyro-copter nearby. I don’t hear them though as I jump in the two-man vessel, and spin up the propeller blades; no one can stop me; I’m only seeing red. Exhaust chokes me as the engines come to life. The chopper lifts slightly off the ground, hovering as the blades reach optimal velocity, but I just sit there. How do I go up?

Wrestling the stick between my legs, encouraging altitude, the chopper tilts left and right as the jeep speeds away. “Go UP!” I urge. Spying what I think is the collective lever, I pitch the helicopter forward and up, and up, and up. Soon enough I’m enjoying the breeze of the open-style cockpit, and sit happily above the trees, briefly forgetting my mission.

Sun_Apr_19_18-31-15_PDT_2015This is as far as my little bird takes me though. As I reach an altitude of about twenty-five feet, I’m eloquently jettisoned from my seat, shortly followed by a plummet to the ground. The explosion of the gyro meeting a Fir rocks me back, and I clutch my face, shying from the heat wave. The world losses all colour for a moment as I catch my breath.

What happened? Did I forget how to descend and instead jump out? Did my little aircraft really just fail so dramatically? Is this mission over before it has begun?

The questions hit me, wave after wave, but the true purpose of my ill-attempted flight is still real. Pagan Min is very much getting away. Struggling to my feet and limping down the grassy hill, I clamber into a Tut Tut and drive off in the general direction of where Pagan Min was heading. I decide against following the road, and quickly find my piecemeal vehicle careening over ridges and down slopes, dodging trees left and right, straining to hold together. The Tut Tut’s exterior doesn’t add a lot of protection against the incoming branches that pelt my face or kicked-up dirt and dust that chokes me, but soon enough I find a dry path, and agree with the struggling vehicle – the smoother route down the mountain is safer.

I can hear Pagan’s rumbling jeep, so I know I’m at least traveling in the right direction. I’ll just keep an eye on the road and see if I can spot any tire tracks that would betray his path.

Mon_Apr_20_20-50-42_PDT_2015

As my narrowing route winds around mountainous cliffs and snakes downward along a river, I catch the tail end of Pagan’s dusty trail and slide around the next bend into an inviting village and awaiting soldiers. Min has stopped to bark off a few commands to his Lieutenants but doesn’t stay, instead opting to speed off. He wouldn’t have liked the scene that played out either way.

A handful of soldiers start a patrol and the rest setup a human barricade. Neither slow me as my three-wheeled Tut Tut barrels through the wall of flesh. The surprised group didn’t know how to react when they saw my little blue juggernaut skid into the town, and instead of yielding, saw fit to stand in the way like soccer players and get bounced off the hood. Leaving behind two piles of slightly bruised humans resenting the Tut Tut’s metal frame, I continue my chase after Min.

Mon_Apr_20_20-53-48_PDT_2015Coaxing all the speed from my little heap, I read the distance between myself and Min as narrowing – I am more maneuverable after all. One hand on the wheel, I bring out my automatic pistol and start firing at Pagan’s jeep, aiming for anything within range. Maybe he’ll scare and miss a turn, or maybe I’ll catch a tire and turn him over.

Neither happens as a rhino inappropriately interrupts our chase with his very large body and sharp horn, completely removing Pagan’s presence from the road, mangled jeep included. King Min’s body glides out through the windshield, into the air, hitting the ground in a tangled mess of limbs, and slides to a stop against a tree, face down.

My reaction is immediate, extreme, and entirely common in this predicament. “Holy Fuck!” I jerk the van’s steering wheel to the left to avoid the hazardous spike-adorned monster, incidentally turning the Tut Tut on its side.

Before the scene gets any more ugly, I scramble out with arms raised, and nod towards the rhino, signalling my thanks for his service. “I … I unfortunately cannot repay you,” I stutter. Testing the newly forged but fragile peace treaty, I walk around the rhino towards Pagan Min’s lifeless body to see the damage.

The pink and purple clothes, and blond hair – Pagan Min is a sore sight – but the blood, dirt and grass that now make up his face is unbearable. Pagan Min is dead, and Kyrat is better for it. Long Live the King.

I bring up my radio to call my colleagues, but instead receive a call from none other than Pagan Min. “Hello! Did you miss me? Oh wait, I guess you did. Ha! … And you ruined a perfectly good body double I might add. An expensive one at that.”

Pagan Min lives? How can this be. I had come so close to finishing this tale, freeing the people of Kyrat from their torment. Now what will I do, how will I ever get this close to Pagan Min again.

Pagan is still chirping away as I focus again on the radio and interrupt his monologue. “Next time Min, it’ll just be you and me!” I promise him, and clip the radio back on my belt.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. What did you say?” He replies, goading a response. I am, however, done talking. After a brief silence he finally grows bored, ” … Strong silent type. I like it.” He hangs up.

I bring out my map and stare blankly.

Now I’m lost…

-iRogan

“At least there’s a silver lining. You didn’t completely fuck it up.”

IDL NEWS – News Catch-up, New Games and Games With Gold

Ah, Tuesday, the best day of the week. It’s like the first day of the week for all things new. Including Games, DVDs, Comics, and Music. But not theater releases.

Today I’ll discuss the new game releases, and look at the notable ones I missed for the past 2 weeks, plus Deals with Gold and Games with Gold.


Games With Gold
phantompainposter808Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One will be able to download Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes for free throughout August. How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition will also be free from August 16 to September 15.

On Xbox 360, Metro 2033 will be free for Gold members from August 1 to August 15. The sequel, Metro: Last Light, will then be free from August 16 to August 31. I have the bundle on the Xbox One, but have yet to start it up.

I am excited to go through Ground Zeroes again before the full release of MGS V, and now with it available for free, I don’t need the disc anymore. This, by far, is the best benefit of the GwG feature for those who already own the games.

Deals With Gold
The Xbox One and 360 weekly deals have been announced; notable ones listed below:

Xbox One
Thief – 60% off
Project CARS Digital Edition – 30% off
Mortal Kombat X – 25% off
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood – 80% off
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – 75% off
The LEGO Movie Game – 75% off
Never Alone – 50%

Xbox 360
Hitman HD Pack, or Absolution and Blood Money separately – 80% off each
Mafia II – 80% off
LEGO Indiana Jones 2 – 70% off
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – 75% off
The LEGO Movie Game – 75% off

The LEGO games are always a blast to play alone or in split-screen. Thief was recently made available for free on the 360, so I might just try out that version. I am interested in Mortal Kombat X though, we’ll see how much the discount brings it down too. And check out my review for Max and Never Alone if you’re interested.


Notable New Game Releases Extended Edition: July 28 – Aug 11

RARE Replay (Xbox One) – The RARE Replay is a collection of 30 hit and classic titles from the historic developer. Included into one package for $30.

Prototype 1 + 2 Bundle (Xbox One, PS4) – I played the first Prototype game on the Xbox 360, and wasn’t really impressed. Its great as a mindless sandbox game, but the story and quests and any direction whatsoever was lost on me, so I lost interest quick. This is an unnecessary HD remaster package.

Goat Simulator (PS4, PS3) – PS4 and PS3 consoles finally got Goat SimulatorMy review.

Goat Simulator is the latest in goat simulation technology.

Goat Simulator is the latest in goat simulation technology.

King’s Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4) – A puzzle adventure game with stylized visuals akin to TellTale games. Chapter 1 is available now with more coming, or you can purchase the complete collection. The game looks pretty interesting, and there’s less dialogue and more puzzles than TellTale’s games, so I’ll likely pick it up.


Tomorrow I’ll discuss more news, and what I’ve been playing.

-iRogan

IDL NEWS – The Catching Up Week, and Windows 10

Hi again! If you’re back reading this, it means I’m a decent blogger, right? I’ll add it to my resume!

So this week will be a combination of new news and old news as I start my catch-up from the past two weeks. While I was gone, I published a Top 10 Xbox 360 list and published a new short story. As well as started the run-down for Gamescom 2015. I’ll be adding new articles to that page as I get to it.

That said, the rest of the week should be the usual: News, New Games and Deals, What I’m Playing, possibly a review, and achievements.


Rise of the Tomb Raider Exclusivity
Square Enix has announced that the console exclusivity for Rise of the Tomb Raider would last one year. The Steam/ PC release would be early 2016, and the PS4 version likely available holiday 2016. No exact dates were revealed.

World of Tanks
Released on the Xbox One on July 28th, World of Tanks supports cross-platform play between the Xbox One and 360. Additionally, the Xbox One version features enhanced graphics and battle damage, and a new PVE mode for newer players. It’s free-to-play, so I’ll be providing my opinions of the Xbox One version when I jump in.

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Xbox’s Reverse Streaming
More on the Window’s 10 features and impressions later on, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer has confirmed that Microsoft is currently looking into making it possible for Xbox One owners to stream PC games to their console now that the infrastructure is in place to do the opposite. This functionality would eliminate the need for a Steam Box.

New Battlefield Game in 2016?
EA has confirmed that a new Battlefield game will be released next year. EA has confirmed that a first-person-shooter over the next few years will be one of the core titles. Battlefield Hardline was released earlier in the year, and Star Wars Battlefront is late this year. I still haven’t completed Battlefield Hardline  but I hope to soon, to remove it from my ever-growing list of incomplete games.

Star Wars Battlefront News
A new multiplayer mode has been confirmed for Battlefront, in Blast, which will give the players smaller, close-quarters encounters instead of the featured large-scale battles.

10 versus 10 team deathmatch face-off between Imperials and Rebel forces. Winning team is the first to reach 100 kills or lead the way after 10 minutes. Maps won’t be scaled down version of the regular modes, but specifically designed close-quarters maps taking place within interiors of several key settings.

Destiny’s Dreadnaught
The Dreadnaught is a brand new playable environment coming with the next Destiny expansion, The Taken King. The Dreadnaught is the home of the Hive enemy class. It will proved the setting  for the upcoming campaign missions as well as Patrol and public events too. The new strike and strike boss, Darkblade, will be fought aboard the Dreadnaught. Expect more destiny news as we approach the September release.

dreadnaught_c_concept_blog


I upgraded to Windows 10 when I came back, and so far I’m really impressed. It has a cleaner interface, and improved navigation, especially for tablets (which I use primarily). Now I haven’t used it to its full potential, and never will, but the Xbox App was the most important feature to me, and it’s incredible.

It has a very impressive feature set and works seamlessly with the Xbox One in the same room. It’s more robust than the smart glass app, and supports Xbox parties and game DVR. The last feature I tried was the Xbox Streaming, and with a Xbox controller wired in, it nearly works seamless. A little graphics loss, to be expected, but it did glitch out when I tried plugging in headphones to the tablet. Could be a hardware issues, so I’ll have to look into it further.

The Xbox app drops you into the Home screen when you log in. This looks similar to the Xbox One home, where it shows you the activity feed and friends list on the right. It will also show you your current party, last played game, and menus for customization, Achievements and friend options.

On the right is your menu: Home, My Games, Messages, Activity Alerts, Achievements, Game DVR, Store, OneGuide, Connecting to the Xbox One and Settings.

It’s not 100% polished yet, but it’s very impressive already with more TV DVR options in the future.


Tomorrow, I’ll continue with the news catch-up, new game releases, game deals and Games with Gold discussion.

-iRogan

IDL SHORT – Of Men And Giants

This is a short story about the fun within Titanfall.


Of Men and Giants

They say that the fall is the toughest part. Strapped inside those monstrous battle mechs as they careen, screeching through the upper atmosphere, breaking sound barriers and earth alike. The Titans suited their name and only the best of us ever got to use them.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d run the simulation countless times; learned the maneuvers and call-signs and all that, but to this day had not been granted the distinction of piloting one. Not today, not ever was my belief. The Commander had hinted that we’d all get the chance if we put in our time. On a long enough timeline, maybe, but this brutal war would not last forever and the direction wasn’t favouring our side either. Today’s drop would be no different than the last. Death or retirement would find us sooner.

I was saying as much to ILLESTRADER on the way down before the Commander had broken the thought.

“zzz 3 miles until we reach the beach! zzz”

The interior fluorescents of the transport ship blinked off replaced with the red amber landing lights. With our helmets donned we all stand in sync, holding on to the breach handles bracing for the impact. I check my weapons again, for the nth time, gloves and pockets. Nervous habit, but it was also a superstitious routine. ILLESTRADER can probably hear me grinding my teeth through his headset.

The transport ship drops us off along the outskirts of the town behind the defending wall, beyond the views of any infantry on the ground. We’d come in over the water, and under their radar.

This was a small battle, not one to win the war by any stretch. But small advantages here and there turn the tide. Small fights make for bigger wins, they repeatedly sold us.

This hidden town had the satellite uplinks that we mean to take for ourselves, to interrupt the IMC’s communication and hopefully control the staging for tomorrow’s battles.

Bracing myself against the torrents of heat and wind that escape the transport’s engine, I crouch low against the unfinished wall – many parts still showing rebar – looking up at the height. 10 feet maybe 15 I judge. After checking the computer on my wrist to ensure the jump kit packed into my backpack is charged and camera displays functioning, I motion to ILLESTRADER to join me at the wall.

Shouldering his Longbow-DMR rifle he breaks off his idle talk with the other Pilots, shuffles over and kneels beside me eyeing the height of the wall all the same.

“Only four other pilots with us on this drop, eh? A team this small, you’d think MILITIA pegged this scout point as of little importance, if it wasn’t for that satellite dish. You figure IMC will have much resistance?” I ask.

“I didn’t see any ground infantry outside of the wall. PIKEY thinks he might have picked up one of their Titans though. But, could be that the IMC thought this point was kept a secret.” He finishes checking his gear one last time. The transport ship fires its engines and starts its take off procedures.

The original orders asked us six to secure the dish, eliminating any resistance. No communication is to leave planet-side from the enemy so a quiet incursion was requested. The dish, however, is to remain functional. Drop-ships would return in ONE HOUR for extraction.

All of that has changed now as we stood against the defending wall, shying away from the wind and dirt. Our headsets chirped up:

               “zzz New orders, people! Ground forces incoming and prepare for enemy Titan fall. Alpha point is still priority one, but go loud. I repeat: Weapons Free! Your own Titan is on its way, T Minus 10 MINUTES. zzz”

The thought of getting my own Titan consumes all my senses and I miss the rest of the communication from Command. Of all days, of all innocuous missions, today might be my day. The day I fight among giants.

ILLESTRADER is tapping me on the arm and pointing at the rest of the Pilots as they jettison towards the wall and clamber overtop. We follow in line. Cresting the top of the rudimentary wall I take in the view. I can see why the IMC thought this garrison would be overlooked. A dozen or so buildings make up its entirety. They were built in a scattered formation, obviously rushed, and surrounded by the thick but unfinished defence wall. At the center of the buildings rose the barracks and adjoining satellite tower. Pressing against the camp were mountainous hills, and on our side the water. Not the worst place to go out.

Most of the buildings were probably just housing for the soldiers who happened to be stationed here too, just two floor shanties. Maybe they’ve only been here a couple months? Maybe it was just a short term base that no one had expected to be of much importance.

As I sit there straddling the wall, I notice ILLESTRADER has already started to sneak along the top towards the nearest house and the other Pilots doing the same. My comfort doesn’t last long though as the base’s alarms start sounding, and soldiers start to scurry out from the barracks. Gun chatter picks up across numerous houses as a pair of our Pilots surprise some of the waking soldiers.

The sky parts up above, and the explosion of a rocket‘s fiery engines is heard seconds later. I stare upwards in awe; the anticipation canceling out all further thought as the first Titan breaks through the stratosphere and lands 100 feet from me. The thundering of the ingress rockets is replaced by deafening straining of metal and gears, and the hiss of hydraulics. The earth craters, shaking violently and the massive Titan moans, braced for the impact. The dust settles in a brief silence before a pair of drop pods flank the Titan, landing with feeble ferocity in comparison and a dozen soldiers rush out of each.

It will never get any less impressive, I gape as the ATLAS beast straightens, un-holsters its weapon and stands at the ready. These Titans were designed to be the mechanized representation of their Pilot: tall, armoured, human-like. Awesome.

From my wall perch I watch as the soldiers point at the defence perimeter and the Titan presses one of its clawed feet against the sturdy concrete wall. Painfully slow, the wall creaks and starts folding, crumpling in on its self. My seat now diminishing, I slide down the other side and kneel beside a shanty house and toggle the visor and secure my helmet. ILLESTRADER’s name along with the other Pilots mutely displays on my HUD as I look to find him perched.

“PIKEY’s Titan just breached the defence wall on auto-pilot, and two dozen friendlies have followed it through. What do you see?” Turning on my active camouflage, I sprint towards the nearest building and jump up against the wall, boosting through the second story window. I find paper scattered but no one inside. The invisibility screen blinks off a second later starting to recharge.

“His is our first Titan on the ground, mine’s still a few minutes away, and they have two landed already. I had counted three of their Pilots, but some are likely in their Titans now. We’ll find out soon-” Shots crack over the rest of transmission as ILLESTRADER hits his targets. “A lot of foot soldiers though. This place was obviously more important than we originally thought.”

“Any spectres? Hacking those would speed up the dish sequencing,” I inquire as I check the desk and wall for any valuable information.

“None from what I’ve seen.”

Damn. I check my Data Knife all the same but slide it back in the sheath.

Climbing back out the window and landing softly on the earth below I head off at a trot towards PIKEY’s Titan. It looks like its auto-pilot is set on guard mode near the entrance of the barracks and satellite dish. Maybe one of our Pilots is inside the tower already? Wouldn’t that be good luck!

No sooner had the thought concluded when PIKEY races out the door of the barracks in a cloud of smoke and tumbling debris, and heads towards his Titan. I reach it at the same time.

Titanfall_screenshot

The ATLAS reaches down and grabs PIKEY, opens the body-chassis like a mouth and unceremoniously stuffs him inside, transferring control to the Pilot. I know this takes a couple seconds so I jump up onto the back and hold on to the shoulder, locking my boots to the armour.

As the control nodes inside power on and transition to Pilot command, PIKEY speaks up:

“Third Titan has hit the ground bro, on the other side of the barracks. OGRE class but no Pilot yet. Just hunched there shielded. I scoped the dish control center inside for a second. I didn’t see if anyone was defending it, thanks to the cloaking mods those buggers stole from us. But someone made sure I got real friendly with a grenade!” His Titan stands up, and starts to round the back of the barracks. “I also noticed C4 charges. My guess, they’d rather blow the dish entirely than lose control.”

I question their motives as I hold onto the shell of the Titan. I wonder to myself if the C4 is more for show. Destroy the panels maybe – unlikely the entire building would go.

As we round the building to see the shielded H-KA02/a OGRE, PIKEY’s own anti-personnel alarm starts to sound as a camouflaged Pilot launches from the satellite dish balcony and mounts the front of the chassis opposite me and starts shooting at the electronic boards underneath the breast plating.

“zzz An enemy Pilot has boarded your Titan. Zzz” I hear the buzzing of alarms and female computer voice echo through the Titan’s battle armour and internal insulation.

Completely unaware of my presence, I crawl up over the shoulder through hazy smoke and a shower of sparks and bring out my pistol; I tap him on the temple.

“BOOM! Headshot. He didn’t even see me.” I brag to ILLESTRADER as PIKEY thanks me, the Pilot falling lifeless to the ground. “One Pilot down, and who’s to say what’ll happen with his Titan now?” I ask to no one. Fuck all, since they’re only coded to their Pilot. “Shield will wear off any minute and then we can take it out.”

ILLESTRADER selectively doesn’t hear me, instead announces that his Titan is ready and that we’ve lost a Pilot of our own.

Why my Titan hasn’t been made available yet, I don’t guess. The expected ten minutes have lapsed without any indication of mine arriving, but I don’t share this with the others.

“Land your Titan near the far side of the barracks, and with PIKEY attack the other two enemy Titans,” I command, not meaning to. “I’ll disembark from PIKEY now and head into the satellite’s data centre, see if I can’t find anyone inside.”

2436148-titanfallres

I reason that ILLESTRADER has acknowledged as the sky again parts announcing another giant’s pending arrival. Envy simmering, I jump down off the back of my companion’s ride and head back towards the satellite. I still feel the Titan’s aftershock even as I reach the door.

Checking my wrist’s digital display quickly, I watch as the team of PIKEY and ILLESTRADER’s Titan reduces the empty enemy Titan shell to scrap before marching towards the other side of the town. ILLESTRADER rests on the balcony of the satellite dish’s base to scope out the battlefield, content with his Titan following PIKEY on auto-pilot.

Turning on my active camouflage and entering the building, I quickly eliminate two sentries posted at the door. Our map told us we’d find the data centre on the third floor. The first floor is still smoky and a lot of the lights have burst, likely due to PIKEY’s grenade from earlier. Having cleared each room I head towards the stairs and remember to check-in before reaching the objective.

“Three enemy Titans are scrap now, and four Pilots won’t be going home. I think two of each remains,” ILLESTRADER responds. “I lost my Titan but I’m riding PIKEY’s ATLAS,” he adds.

“And of our own?” I whisper.

“Just us three.”

“What?” I exclaim trying not to make noise, but knowing full well that it was a poor attempt. “How?”

“BARD hardly made it over the wall before he was capped by a sniper shot, so his Titan never made it. They landed a Titan on CRUZ’s with him inside, and ARCHITECT was breaching the barracks with PIKEY when that blast went off earlier. That grenade or C4 or whatever fucked him up.”

“So I’m on my own? Peachy,” I mumble, frustrated. My wrist indicator buzzes as I reach a hallway with stairs. I look down to see my Titan is ready. My day has finally arrived–

The floor and walls explode into wood bits and sheered metal as a cloaked Pilot descends the stairs and sees me immediately. I hit my own camo, drop a grenade, and bolt down the hallway in the opposite direction. The Pilot doesn’t wait for the grenade to go off in front of him though as he starts chasing after me, kicking it aside. I round the corner and jump boost off the walls and up another flight of stairs, to the second and then third floor; the sounds of the grenade’s thud below.

This has to be where the data centre is, I think as bullets continually chase me, glancing off the hallway fixtures.

I round the next corner and slide into a dark office, closing the door. A few papers flutter and I look out the window to see the building’s balcony and a clearing outside. I hug the wall as my active camo blinks off. Ten seconds to recharge is all I need, as I listen for any footsteps outside in the hall. The Pilot’s empty shell casing and a Carbine’s empty magazine hit the floor with a deafening clatter as I hold my breath. One on one, I could probably take him, as I do have an element of surprise, but it’s too risky.

Deducing that the enemy Pilot will reach this office any moment I leave the window’s view and gather towards the adjacent wall, calling my STRYDER Titan. My plan was to escape through the window and reach my Titan. The distant crackle of the jets is suddenly dulled by the impatient beeping of an explosive charge outside the office door. Suddenly expediting my plan, I sprint towards the window just as the door implodes.

The world slows as the door splinters and bullets start to draw a silhouette around me into the walls, floor and window. Sharp chunks of metal, wood and glass bite and tear into my Pilot’s suit as I leap towards the window in a crouched fetal position hoping my arms and legs clear away most of the glass and any debris. Landing in a tucked roll on the balcony outside I make a show of leaping over the railing towards the clearing, triggering my cloak. Instead I hold onto the railing’s bar and drop straight down. Hopefully the Pilot thinks I’ve kept going straight ahead – the breaching smoke will help my cause, but the timing will have to be perfect.

The Pilot follows me through the window as hoped, plants off the railing towards the clearing, checking the ground to land safely. He doesn’t see, hear or feel the STRYDER as it crashes down directly overhead, reducing blood, skin and bone into dirt. Pilot no more.

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“One more Pilot down,” I announce, proud of myself. “Is there anyone else still alive?”

ILLESTRADER speaks first, “PIKEY and me are still here, coming up to the dish on foot-”

The communications cut out as that thrice dead Pilot’s Titan comes tearing down to the planet, renting through both satellite dish and tower like a meteor. I vault forward, jump kit do not fail me now; reaching for my STRYDER’s open hand, I wait to be deposited into the chassis. I’m dropped into the cushioned seats as the interior cables start to plug into my helmet and the beast’s face closes. Close, close, close, I plead. The five synchronous screens blink on one by one as the dish’s explosion reaches my Titan. An avalanche of earth and satellite dish rubble shower me as the blast of the data centre and its new Titan addition mushrooms towards the sky.

“There goes the mission,” I announce, disappointed but relieved.

“HAH, don’t forget the neighborhood,” PIKEY adds.

“MILITIA Command? Send us that extraction. Satellite dish is destroyed by IMC’s own. Let the defeated few crawl back to their Commander to explain what happened. We’re done here. Over.” I exhale.

While removing my visor and helmet I take in all of the Titan’s inner workings. Nothing is better than the real thing.

Command affirms, and the remnants of our team start heading towards the beach for extraction. I spend every available moment inside my Titan, my STRYDER. I bask in the real world feel: the smell of oil, the taste of the exhaust. I may never get this opportunity again. I flex my hands and massage the controls as my giant trudges through the remains of the shanty village.

But at least there is a tomorrow.

-iRogan

“Today is my lucky day. I haven’t missed a shot!”

“That’s because you haven’t even pulled the trigger.”

“I’m trying to be precise!”

Gamescom 2015: Cologne, Germany – Xbox Press Conference

MICROSOFT Gamescom 2015 Media Briefing:

August 4th, 2015 – 7am.


-Press conference starts with a highlight reel trailer featuring Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5 Guardians, Forza Motorsport 6, and Gears of War – with the tag line: “Jump in”.

-From Microsoft’s Headquarters in Germany, Gregor Bieler takes the stage and thanks publishers and fans alike for attending the show, and announces that Gamescom 2015 kicks off with the Microsoft Press Briefing here in Cologne, Germany. Says thank-you and announces the head speaker, Phil Spencer.

-Phil Spencer takes the stage and reaffirms that Microsoft and the Xbox Team are committed to delivering the games that fans want to play, on the devices we want to play them on, whether we are an Xbox Gamer, a PC gamer, or both. Microsoft has the most anticipated games, and best hardware, accessories, and social environments, with Xbox Live.


rareware-4e26145007227RARE Replay

-Phil Spencer announces that the Rare complication, RARE Replay is available today. The game showcases three decades of hit games and iconic franchises across multiple platforms. The compilation is a testament to the studio and heritage of their games.


-Phil Spencer reiterates that 2015 has been and will continue to be the best line up in the history of Xbox with a growing investment in first party franchises like: Fable, Gears of War, Tomb Raider, Forza Motorsport, and Halo.


Quantum Break

-An Xbox One Exclusive trailer starts: Shawn Ashmore, Aidan Gillen and Dominic Managhan. This is Quantum Break.

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-Gameplay reveal showing a warehouse facility, with the hero, Shawn Ashmore’s character, being flanked by enemy soldier. Gameplay  shows area time freezes, directed time freeze bombs, sped up attacks and navigation. Gorgeous cinematic gunplay.

-Gameplay against enemies that also have the time changing ability, and can move within the frozen zones. All world objects are affected by gunplay, and move realistically, but in slow-motion. The whole area warps and shifts while in the frozen zones. Time lapse gameplay and time puzzles are mentioned.

-Sam Lake, Remedy Director takes the stage to discuss Quantum BreakRemedy has always made cinematic story-driven action games. Quantum Break breaks into new territory with a game and a live-action TV show fused together. Shawn Ashmore takes the stage to discuss the show. The game is about the heroes, and the show is about the villains. Quick TV trailer showing Aiden Gillen’s bad guy character. Release date: April 5th, 2016.


Crackdown 3

Crackdown+3+Teaser+Art-Dave Jones – Reagent Games Director comes to the stage to discuss Crackdown 3.

-Jones discusses the massive new city,  and the new vision for the game. A development video is shown, showing some behind the scenes development, the new city, and how everything is connected. Jones announces that the new online multiplayer modes with showcase 100% destructible environments.


Scalebound

– Hideki Kamiya, PlatinumGames, takes the stage. Game Director for Scalebound. Kamiya announces that Scalebound is the largest open-world game that PlatinumGames has ever built. Gameplay trailer:

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-Demo starts with the hero flying in on a huge dragon, and then unceremoniously dumped off. Snarky talk from the hero to his dragon. Sword play and bow and arrow gameplay are shown, and dragon attacks are at the command of the player. Hero takes out a few enemy garrisons with the help from the dragon.

-Dragon bounds off through some trees and then a huge monster shows up. The hero has a dragon arm, and can take on a scaled, armoured form to fight large monsters. Hero and Dragon take on the monster with aerial sword attacks and large mines with explosive bow and arrow gameplay.

-Demo ends with the announcement that the game will support 4 player co-op. Release Holiday 2016.


-Xbox Platform Hardware time. Free-to-air HD Television will soon support DVR to record live TV. Through the Xbox TV Guide, you can select a show, and record an episode or series. Supports Instant-On to schedule recordings. Once recorded, shows can be streamed to a supporting Windows 10 device, or can be downloaded onto a Windows 10 device to take on the go. From a Windows 10 device, you can also schedule recordings away from home. Subscription free, coming early 2016.

-Xbox Chat Pad available soon. Has audio controls similar to the Xbox controller media adapter, and has 2 programmable buttons as well. Chat pad also has the microphone adapter plug-in.

-Backwards Compatible available for everyone November 2015. All Games With Gold will be backwards compatible available at launch.

-Shannon Loftis – Head of Xbox Publishing takes the stage to discuss Killer Instinct and cross-platform play. Season 3 kicks off March 2016 and will support cross-platform with Window’s 10 devices, and will support all fight sticks. In conjunction with RARE Replay, Rash from Battletoads is available now in Killer Instinct as a playable fighter.


ID@XBOX

-Chris Charla, ID@ Xbox head comes to the stage to discuss some of the new indie titles coming soon. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a cross-play 2.5D side-scrolling action game with heavy RPG elements. City: Skyline will makes its console debut on the Xbox One, as well as Train Simulator. A new Worms game, titled W.M.D will be released by Team17, and goes back to its 2D animated days.

-Two new games for Xbox Preview were announced. First: Sheltered, available for Preview today, and ARK: Survival Evolved will be available for Preview this holiday. We Happy Few – super creepy game from Compulsion Games was also announced for Preview.


-More hardware and engineering stuff. Jasmine Lawrence hits the stage to discuss more Windows 10. Windows 10 supports DirectX 12 and it’s built into the architecture to support game developers. A tech-demo from the Final Fantasy team is shown, highlighting refraction and bloom light effects, time lapses, hair and face design, textures and hair opacity, and field of view.

-Windows 10 will support game DVR similar to the Xbox One, without any addition software or hardware. Announce the Xbox App, and she discusses Cloud Saves that work cross-platform. Cross-buy and cross-play both supported on Xbox and Windows 10. And streaming Xbox One over to a Windows 10 PC on the same network.

-Director of the Windows 10 version of Minecraft came out to discuss the game a bit, and announce his own new game – Cobalt. A 2D side-scrolling shooting game that has couch multiplayer.


lfihx3yuplrl4pibk0ujDark Souls III

-New trailer showing some of the new locations and enemies for Dark Souls III – From Software. Release is in 2016.


Homefront: The Revolution

-This is the game that has me the most excited, as I loved the story of the first. C.J from Dambusters Studios hits the stage to show off the new open-world Homefront game. Trailer shows a child reach the stage and to prepare a speech thanking the glorious republic of Korea and the Korean People’s Army. The game is an open-world shooter, and we play the role of the resistance. Following the events of the first game with North Korea invading the United States and takes over.

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-The trailer and gameplay showcases guerrilla warfare. Multiplayer beta available first on the Xbox One this Winter. Single player campaign gameplay reveal:

-First person shooter. Demo starts on a motorcycle driving through the open world. Lots of ramps to drive over. Definitely a makeshift revolution town supporting lots of maneuverability. Player reaches an enemy checkpoint and brings out the RC bomb car to blow up the blockade ahead. Demo shows on-the-fly weapon modification where you can add or remove scopes, or silencers.

-Capturing areas and checkpoints unlocks new support in the region, and reveal hideouts and weapons caches. Game looks awesome.


FIFA 16 & EA ACCESS

-Quick promotion for the upcoming FIFA title which now supports the Woman’s National Teams. Promoting the FIFA Ultimate Team mode which supports FIFA Legends, and the benefits of being an EA Access subscriber.


h5-secondary-teaser-thumbnail-542x305-b415c449330045f7bbb09db7cb6caab7Halo 5: Guardians – Multiplayer

-Halo 5 Guardians promotion time, focusing on Multiplayer and eSports. Two of the Halo shoutcasters hit the stage to discuss the making of the multiplayer, the 2 new modes, and new abilities. While testing the multiplayer, the top USA team and the top Europe team were brought in to test of the new game and play a series of competitive matches. The last round replay was shown:

-Arena Mode for eSports – 4 V 4. Playing Capture the Flag on the new Coliseum map. Primarily magnum pistol use. Flag juggling has returned.

-Josh Holmes, Executive Produce from 343 Industries hits the stage and announces the new Halo World Championship eSports tournament with a grand prize of 1 million dollars.


Just Cause 3‘s new destructive gameplay trailer is shown next. Dec 1st release date. The game is starting to look quite enticing with the new abilities. Might have to pick it up after all.


Forza Motorsport 6

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-Forza time, as Turn 10’s head hits the stage and states that 2015 is the 10 year anniversary of the Forza franchise.

-Forza Motorsport 6 will have 450 cars supporting full cockpit view, full damage and customization. 26 world famous destinations and 24 player online races supporting dedicated servers.

-The new career mode supports night-time racing and real world rain physics. 1080P, 60FPS.


-Quick Germany based trailer for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege. Release is Oct 13th.


Rise of the Tomb Raider

-Brian Horton – Crystal Dynamics – hits the stage to discuss Rise of the Tomb Raider. The open-level design and traversal space is 3x larger than any locations in prior Tomb Raider games.

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-New gameplay trailer shows Lara sneaking up on a team of mercenaries in the middle of a stormy night. The gameplay shows swimming take-downs, aerial take-downs off shacks, and new distraction techniques by throwing cans and bottles.

-New double arrow kills and poison arrows. And a new crafting mechanic is introduced. Similar to The Last of Us, you can build little nails bombs from a car, or molotov cocktail.

-Brian Horton comes back and says that the new guerrilla combat encourages experimentation and choice. The game also has a heavy focus on tombs. Release Nov 13th, 2015.


-Phil Spencer comes back to the stage to close up the show. 2015 has the best lineup of Xbox games in the history of Xbox, with some greats to close out the year: Halo 5, Tomb Raider, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Fable Legends, Forza Motorsport 6, Gigantic, and RARE Replay. And 2016 is only looking better with some new exclusives: Killer Instinct Season 3, Gears of War 4, Crackdown 3, Scalebound, Sea of Thieves, Quantum Break, and ReCore.

-One last announcement…


Halo Wars 2

-Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries hits the stage to thank all the fans for their passion and support. She states that Halo 5 is not the only Halo game that continues the story, as there’s another story that needs to continue, one highly requested by fans: Available on the Xbox One and on Windows 10 in the Fall of 2016 – Halo Wars 2.


Quick sizzle reel to wrap up the show.

-iRogan.