Monthly Archives: February 2016

How to Setup an Effective Ambush in XCom 2

XCom 2 Ambush

How to Setup an Effective Ambush in XCom 2

It is important for an effective ambush that your soldiers be deployed in a manner that they have at least 1 enemy in sight.

Placing your soldiers in overwatch means that they will attack any enemy forces that are moving. This is important because when the enemy is on the move they do not get a cover bonus if you have a clear line of sight on the target

They still get a dodge bonus and armor saves against your attacks

There isn’t much that we can do against a dodge bonus, but if you start your ambush off with a grenade it will shred the enemy’s armor allowing your other soldiers to deal more damage to the enemy as they run to take cover

Watch the video for more info!

How to Setup an Effective Ambush in XCom 2 – Video

This video was done against a standing patrol which makes for a much easier target as you can get all of your troops into a good fighting position with a lesser chance of being detected. Also you will notice that the river provides for a great line-of-sight to the enemies as they try to take cover. This is important, because any obstacles in the way provide a slight cover bonus to the enemies as they move making it much more difficult to hit.

XCOM 2 Game Review PC

XCom 2 Game Review PC

Twenty years have passed since world leaders offered an unconditional surrender to alien forces and XCOM, the plant’s last line of defense, was left decimated and scattered. Now the aliens rule Earth, building shining cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda below and eliminating all who dissent from their new world order. Only those who live at the edges of the world have a margin of freedom. Here, a force gathers once again to stand up for humanity. Always on the run, the remnant XCOM forces must find a way to rise from the ashes, expose the insidious truth behind the occupation, and eliminate the alien threat once and for all.

    Game Data

  • Developer: Firaxis Games
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Release Date: February 5, 2016
  • Platforms: Windows, MAC & Linux (no console version yet)

Before I get started I will say that I was very excited when I first heard news that Firaxis Games was continuing with the XCOM franchise. Not so much for the story, but mainly for the game play. This is a game that requires a lot of tactics and twice as much luck. A lot of other review sites are singing it’s praise, but I’m going to say it how it is with all its flaws and achievements. I personally enjoy this game, but this is far from deserving the highest accolades that many others are singing.

XCOM 2 Graphics

While the graphics are a huge improvement over XCOM: Enemy Within, they are a far cry from what modern gaming systems are capable of. Occasionally the camera will drift off into a building during an action sequence, so all you see is the roof. There are a variety of other simple UI and graphics issues that should have never been an issue to begin with. For the most part the graphics are sharp, crisp and clear, but still feel far more cartoony than they should. The cut scenes are pre-rendered so they look much better than the game play.

XCOM 2 Story

Without spoiling too much, but it feels like they tried to pull something out of JJ Abrams playbook. The commander is captured, the council collapses, World leaders surrender to the aliens (Advent) and XCOM is left in shambles. While the ending of XCOM: Enemy Within eluded in the least subtle ways possible that this wasn’t over, it ended in a huge victory and yet XCOM 2 starts off 20 years after the Alien occupation began. That just doesn’t make any sense, but it was never an epic story to begin with. Plenty of poor writing, and cheesy acting. Then again, I don’t play XCOM for the story anyways. Another point of contention for me is the removal of one my favorite types of squad members. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but you won’t be bashing through walls anytime soon.

XCOM 2 Mechanics & Combat

This is a turn-based strategy game that is heavily reliant on tactics…and luck. Actually, luck plays WAY too much of a factor. I shouldn’t “miss” when I am right in front of the enemy. Fortunately for us, the AI has the same problem. I really think the mechanics in XCOM: Enemy Within were much better, they didn’t feel nearly as reliant on “luck” as XCOM 2 does. That is probably the biggest detractor, but I will also say that the maps feel a bit unbalanced. I always save at the start of my mission so I can start-over when I put myself in a really bad position, but there are some maps where you were pre-destined to fail no matter what. I do like the permanent death of your squad members when they die in combat. It really makes you want to take less risks, especially when you have spent weeks getting a full squad maxed out, only to have your favorite character get ravaged by a berserker.

XCOM 2 Lore

There really isn’t any “lore” to discover. It wouldn’t fit that much in this game anyways. Sure, you get random items that can be researched for added dimension to the story as well as unlocking items to build to equip on your soldiers for perks, but there isn’t any lore to be “discovered” that ads real depth to the game.

XCOM 2 Economy

I’m reluctant to give it that many stars, because again it feels way too random. I enjoy the variety of items you have to try and recover, from Engineers and Scientists, to supplies and components; however, its a total crap shoot on what you get most of the time. For instance, say you really want to up the number of scientists you have. Well, you have a 50/50 chance of getting a scientist from gorilla missions but you don’t know what you’ll have a chance of getting until the mission spawns. Rarely do you have more than 1 mission available at a time. Speaking of time, that is definitely one of the items you will never have enough of and you WILL have to make tough choices because you won’t have time to save everybody. Heck, if you’re lucky you’ll be able to help the people you actually try to help.

XCOM 2 Replay

While I do enjoy just how challenging this game is, the replay level is low if existent at all. Sure, there is multi-player mode if you can ever find another player that is playing. Most multi-player modes give you 90 seconds per turn, and then another 30 seconds for the system to catch up before the other player starts. There is definitely some latency, as the guy I played last night was seeing my moves after I ended my turn. For the multi-player you get 10,000 points to build a squad, but most XCOM operatives cost 2,500 base while ADVENT Soldiers cost 200. The unit costs range from 200-6,000 and you have 6 total slots, so choose wisely.

Closing Thoughts

While this game doesn’t score very high overall, it’s nostalgic turn-based play style leaves this as one of my favorite casual games. The tactics involved need a little bit of tweaking, because it doesn’t quite work the way it was intended. You set-up an ambush, but the enemy get’s to shoot first…all just seems wrong.

Tom Clancy’s The Division Game Dark Zone Proximity Chat

Darkzone Proximity Chat

Tom Clancy’s The Division Game Dark Zone Proximity Chat

Ubisoft made some great modifications to the Proximity Chat System in Tom Clancy’s The Division Game. You are able to hear the other players much clearer now when you enter the Dark Zone and from a much farther distance away. I really like this and I hope they keep it that way because it requires your team to be much more tactical when engaging other players or trying to surprise them. We said it before, never trust anyone in the Dark Zone, and a full team is usually only looking for your loot.

Dark Zone Proximity Chat

Homefront The Revolution Beta Review

Homefront The Revolution Beta Review

Tadradan, Hagen and Sparta can time out of their busy schedules to provide you with a stern warning regarding Homefront The Revolution. Well, one of them thinks that there is promise. We go over everything, the good, the bad and the SERIOUSLY!? Homefront The Revolution is set to release on May 12, 2016, but Tadradan believes that should be pushed out to work on many of the issues. Not just the technical issues, but the problems with the game itself.

Homefront The Revolution Beta Review

The premise behind this game is supposed to be that it picks up where the original Homefront left off. If you remember the epic battle in San Francisco, how long it took to get to that point, and how hallow and unfulfilling it felt, I would suggest you to prepare yourself for more of the same. The publisher Deep Silver is promising to release this game as an open-world game. If you read their core features on their website, it reads like Fallout 4, just without the vault, power armor or pip-boy.

I think Deep Silver is trying to hard to be something they aren’t ready to be, and that will hurt more than it will help. Some games are so bad when they are released that there’s nothing left to do but pull it off the shelves and start over. Square Enix learned that lesson and it really feels like Deep Silver is in for some of the same dish.

There is potential, but given the level and breadth of issues rampant in this game, amongst other things (like the quality of their website….seriously, you couldn’t get better graphics?) I don’t think they will be able to pull it off.

What is the Dark Zone

Dark Zone Review

What is the Dark Zone

The Dark Zone is an area in Tom Clancy’s The Division Game where the sick were quarantined during the outbreak. This area suffered the most losses and is still the most heavily contaminated area. The contamination was so bad that the military was ordered to rapidly pull-out, leaving behind most of their best gear. No Agent’s of The Division venture into this area looking for some of that gear and evidence that will help lead to a cure.

What is the Dark Zone – Video Overview

The Dark Zone is separated from the main story quest or PvE area for a reason. This is the area of Manhattan where all of the really sick were quarantined during the outbreak before the military was ordered to evacuate. In fact the military was ordered to evacuate so fast that they left all of their best gear in this area This entire area has the highest level of active contamination and as such is walled off for your safety. To get inside this quarantined area you either climb over the wall at certain low points or go through a check point. Now on the other hand, the check points are your only way out of the Dark Zone. There are multiple check points through out the Dark Zone, and each has a vendor that sales different gear. These vendors sale blue gear called “specialized” and purple gear called “Superior” and only accept a special currency that you earn from killing and looting either NPCs or Players inside the Dark Zone. Now this is better gear than what you can get from normal vendors at your base of operations or at the starting area. there is also a resupply crate where you can restock on ammo. Check points also serve as a respawn location when you get killed in the Dark Zone, because you will.

Tom Calncy’s The Division Official Dark Zone Story Trailer

In order to get higher level dark zone gear, you need to increase both your level and your dark zone rank. Your level is increased by doing PvE quests and story missions, but your DZ rank is only increased by killing NPCs or Players inside the Dark Zone. You earn Dark Zone currency the same way. If you sale gear to dark zone vendors they will only give you credits, not Dark Zone currency, so you have to kill stuff.

Check points aren’t the only respawn location or source of vendors in the Dark Zone, there are also places called safe rooms deep inside the Dark Zone. The vendors here sale the orange gear called “High-end” which is the best gear in the game they serve as another respawn location and they have resupply crates to restock on ammo medkits and grenades

Right now there aren’t any missions in the Dark Zone like there are in the PvE area, but just like your Base of Operations and the starting area, there are intel boards in the Dark Zone. These boards are located in the Check Points as well as the safe rooms. Those boards and the presence of named NPCs lead me to believe that there will infact be missions that you can run inside the Dark Zone when it is launched. For now the focus has been on killing NPCs or Players to get your Dark Zone rank higher so you can purchase better gear.

The only downside to that is how long it felt it took NPCs to respawn. Occasionally it felt as if I spent 20 minutes looking for a mob to fight, but that could be Ubisoft playing around with population caps inside the instances. Or maybe they are just trying to goad us into fighting each other I don’t know but I hope this is something that is addressed before the game is launched.

Be careful when fighting NPCs around players that are not in your group. There is no friendly fire for group members, but running in front of another player that is attacking something will get you shot. likewise a non-group member running in front of you will get them shot and cause your entire team to go rogue. The length of time you are marked as rogue depends on what you did. For instance, you accidentally shot a player a few times causing them to take significant damage but not killing them, your timer is very short. Kill a player and the timer is longer, jack their loot and it is even longer. Keep killing players and your timer will continue to increase. If you kill enough players your rogue symbol will change from red to gold, and all players in the area will be given a mission to neutralize your entire team. If you go rogue and survive until the timer runs out, you get yourself a nice stack of Dark Zone XP and currency, but die when you are marked as Rogue and you will lose a lot of Dark Zone XP and Currency. Remember when I said to get better items you have to increase your Dark Zone rank? Well, if you already own those items but your Dark Zone rank drops to a level below the minimum, you will no longer be able to use it. You won’t lose it, you just can’t use it until you reach the proper Dark Zone Rank again. So be careful when you decide to kill another player or if a team mate decides to go on a rampage.

On the flip side, killing a rogue players earns you extra Dark Zone XP and Currency, plus you can jack whatever loot they have on them and you don’t go rogue.

The Division has a proximity chat system when you’re in the Dark Zone. You can still communicate with your group members the same way that you could in the PvE area and quest missions regardless of where they are on the map, but players not in your group have to be closer to you to hear them better. Right now the proximity chat is limited to 8 players, and there are still some bugs to be worked out. Its not totally clear how you can enter or opt out of this feature except going into a private group like an Xbox Live Party, nor is it clear right now to see if you are in the “proximity” chat you can tell other players are by the red voice waves that appear above their head by their names. A really nice feature is how easy it is to invite local players to your group in The Division. You just focus your screen reticle on them to select them and hit R3 to “view” player, select their name from the list of “nearby agents” and hit “invite to group”. Once they accept the invite they are in the group. It really is just that simple.

It almost seems as if most of the regular NPCs in the Dark Zone are apparently named “Alex”, at least the ones the other NPCs care about. There is a lot of banter between the NPCs and they will talk trash if they are kicking your butt or when you are kicking theirs.

The NPCs in the Dark Zone are noticeable more difficult than the NPCs in the quest area. Most of them have blue health bars signaling they are superior, but the orange are even more difficult. Some NPCs have a star or a colored chevron or are named. These NPCs take teamwork and good cover to take out. If your low on ammo and med kits avoid confronting them because they will not go down easily. Its best to go after them as part of a team, but some can be worked down solo as long as you have good gear and lots of ammo.

you can suppress NPCs by applying heavy fire in the area where they have taken cover and this is a great tactic so that a team member can move into a flanking position to take them out or get them to expose themselves so the entire team can unload into them at the same time. When an NPC is suppressed it with have a white chevron above its head, and will hunker down into cover not exposing any part of themselves which is why you need a team member to flank them or you can try and rush them yourself if you rush them yourself you will be fully exposed and they may become unsuppressed before you get to them

Make sure you mash up your tech skills just right as they will play an invaluable part of your co op play, especially in the Dark Zone scanner helps you to locate NPCs and other players but their are other perks to it like being able to do more damage to scanned enemies or blocking enemies from scanning you your tank should have a riot shield and your medic should have the healing ability while your tech has something to help aid with DPS like the turret or sticky bombs

Cover is a critical part of the game play there is no crouching or prone only cover fighting from cover helps make you a harder target to hit just make sure you chose appropriate cover

Now I do have a gripe and that is sometimes it appears as if NPCs can hide behind a chain link fence and not take any damage from you, but you can hide behind a bookcase and somehow they still nail you. It also almost feels like in some areas the bullets ricochet off of hard objects because you are completely crouched and not exposed but still taking damage not sure if that is actually the case might just be something else Ubisoft has to work on inside the game mechanics before the game launches also the fact that you can’t crouch or go prone seems a bit ridiculous in a shooter that is supposed to be designed to be as realistic as possible people like me that like to play overwatch for my team find that we are standing at the ledge of a building completely exposed in a very unrealistic manner

Loot extractions are a critical part of the Dark Zone. In a nut shell all the loot you collect is contaminated and it has to be extracted if you want to keep it. We made a hole video talking just about loot extractions in depth and I’ll link that here below.

Overall I’m very impressed with Tom Clancy’s The Division and how they have remade how PvP works the game graphics are beautiful and the interface is very easy to navigate and understand I know I personally am looking forward to this game being release in March I just hope that Ubisoft fixes the known issues before the release date

Dark Zone Loot Extraction

The Dark Zone is a great place to score some sweet loot in Tom Clancy’s The Division game, but make sure you understand what can (and will) happen. Knowing is half the battle!

Dark Zone Loot Extraction

The Dark Zone is technically the PvP area of the game, but the emphasis is really on PvE (unless you’re looking for some quick easy loot). The loot you score in the Dark Zone is some of the best gear in the game. High End (the absolute best) so far can only be purchased from vendors inside the Dark Zone using DZ specific currency.

All that sweet loot…is contaminated. What’s worse is you can only carry 6 (six) contaminated items at a time. So you’ll spend a lot of time calling for extractions. Tadradan and Hagen walk you through a few scenarios and explain all the different ways things can go wrong if you are not prepared. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

And if you want to know just how bad it can be, check out our The Division Thug Life video.

Madison Field Hospital Hard Mode

Hagen & Tadradan take you on a walkthrough for Tom Clancy’s “The Division” Madison Field Hospital Mission on Hard Mode. You can re-run the Madison Field Hospital PvE quest mission as many times as you like (so far anyways), but only after beating it on “Normal” difficulty can you unlock “Hard mode.” This is nice, especially considering the PvE content and quests during both the Alpha and Beta were pretty limited. Running the Madision Field Hospital on Hard Mode gives you some nice extras, like specialized gear (both the mission reward and drops from the final boss), bonus XP, bonus resources (help you unlock the quarantine area faster) and more credits!

While it’s not confirmed, we believe that the loot boxes are tied to the same loot table. That being said, you should avoid grabbing certain loot boxes when running it on normal, especially the one in the contaminated area. There are only two others, one before the boss fight after clearing the cafeteria, and another after the boss fight.

There’s also a rumor running around that Ubisoft will have an Open Beta around the 16th of February. We are really hoping that is the case, as there were some new issues that came up in the closed beta that weren’t present during the alpha. Minor nuances, but fixing those would help Ubisoft to have a release day like nothing we have ever seen…virtually bug free.

Madision Field Hospital Hard Mode

No matter what happens, this game is going to be successful, amazing and hopefully change the way other game producers go to market with their games.

The Division Thug Life

You were warned! We told you that The Division was full of thugs looking to jack you for your loot!

The Division Thug Life

Tadradan enjoy pissing off Hagen by randomly attacking other players today with little to no notice. We’ll prepare a recap of the last night of the Division PvP in the Dark Zone later, but for now enjoy this little rid bit. And remember, trust nobody in the Dark Zone and ITS DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE!