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Member Since 05 Feb 2009
Offline Last Active Oct 08 2011 02:13 AM

The Valeyard's top 25 games you should own

28 August 2010 - 09:21 PM

Somewhat belatedly, due to recieving IRL exam results and stuff, heres my top 25.

1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare -360,PS3, PC

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Call of Duty 4. I consider it the best game for myself personally, because it really got me in to playing online and with friends. Despite being almost 3 years old and having 2 sequels out, it’s still holding its own online, testament to how good it is. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why the multiplayer is so good, apart from to say that no game has better maps, game modes, weapons, and progression system. But it’s the campaign that really raises it up to the number 1 spot. Its so well executed in terms of its cinematic style, graphics and sound. Also the way the missions are varied is excellent; you can go from sneaking through a Russian night to piloting an AC-130 gunship, to sneaking through a photo realistic Chernobyl and then to saving the world from a nuclear holocaust. Just such a shame they had to ruin it all with the sequel.

2. Rome: Total War -PC

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Rome Total war is a game that I’ve lost hundreds of hours to. The game works on so many levels, from the battle mechanics to the empire management. There’s so much to do as there’s a ton of factions to choose from, even in the vanilla version, which suffers from wild historical inaccuracies, and stacks the deck pretty firmly in the Romans’ favour even though they start as four factions to try and recreate the civil wars. With the mods though the game really shines, and theres a ton of great ones out there.

3. Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings/The Conquerors expansion -PC

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This is the first strategy game I really got into, and I still play it to this day. It’s just so intuitive in its controls, so varied in its campaigns, civilisations and their unique units and technologies, and in its maps as the random map generator means its literally a different map every time. Its 2d style looks great even to this day, and it’s opening cinematic is great, as is the musical score. Not a fan of AoE3 though.

4. Resistance: Fall of Man –PS3

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This game struck a particular chord with me as it’s the first “next gen” game I played as it came with my PS3, but mainly because the game uses famous English locations in its campaign, such as Manchester Cathedral which caused loads of controversy for the game. Fighting your way through a 1950s St Pancras station before driving through Trafalgar square in a tank blasting aliens is a pretty awesome experience. The campaign has a great back story and is told very well, with plenty of action, which the game excels at due to its amazingly inventive weapons, e.g. guns that burrow through walls, bounce off walls, sniper rifles that slow down time, lay down living mines, fire controllable rockets, create force fields etc. The multiplayer is extremely strong as well boasting 40 players and custom games that are still played to this day across stellar maps. Again they kind of messed up the sequel by adopting a kind of failed CoD mindset involving killstreaks and classes, and limiting the number of weapons you can carry at once to a mere 2 compared to the first games 10 or so.

5. Stronghold -PC

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Stronghold is an incredible castle sim. The basic premise of the game is to either build a castle and have it withstand sieges, or to conduct your own siege. The game is extremely deep in its economic management, so deep that you can play the game without any combat in purely economic modes. The game has massive replayability in that you’re always trying to build a better, more efficient castle, and there are some great player made maps out there, e.g. map based on Lord of the Rings. The 2d graphics are still very easy on the eyes.

6. Age of Mythology/The Titans expansion -PC

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Age of Empires with mythical creatures, powers, and heroes, and a really good story driven campaign. It looks a lot nicer than AoE2 as well, with more attention to detail, e.g. as you upgrade weapons and armour troops look visibly different. I ranked it lower than AoE2 though as it didn’t quite capture me as much.

7. Zoo Tycoon/Dinosaur Digs/Marine Mania expansions -PC
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This was just a really fun time sink for me when I was a kid. Theres tons and tons of animals, cages, trees, grass, plants and terrain as well as hundreds of things to make your Zoo with. The dinosaur expansion allows you to make your very own Jurassic Park. I don’t think the marine animals really worked all that well, but all the new items and stuff was welcome.

8. Resident Evil 4 –PS2,GC,Wii,PC

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Actually played this on the Wii, and its mainly the controls it had that put it in the top 10. For most games the Wii controls are just downright gimmicky or inferior but they really worked on this game because of the way you stop moving to shoot, so it effectively became a mix of action and light gun shooting. The game itself is the best horror game I’ve played, in that it marries excellent action with a great horror atmosphere. I was never really afraid (apart from the regenerators bit), but the atmosphere was really well constructed especially in the village and castle sections. The system of levelling up guns added an RPG element as well, and the cheesy voice acting adds an element of humour.

9. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War -PC

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Dawn of War is just a great RTS with plenty of depth and awesome units. I’m not a WH40k player but the deep universe creates a great atmosphere, as does the great voice acting of the units and characters in the campaign. Great graphics and animations. I played the first game and the Winter Assault expansion, not so sure I would have liked the other expansions because they did away with a story based campaign.

10. Call of Duty/United Offensive -PC

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The original Call of Duty deserves its place in the top 10 both for being an incredible game and for starting the series off to lead to Call of Duty 4. I remember it mainly for the incredibly atmospheric Russian missions, especially the Stalingrad one. One of my top gaming memories is that mission, starting off by crossing the river with German Stuka dive bombers on all sides, leading to some Russians jumping over the sides and being shot in the water by the Commissars. Then getting off the boat and being handed a 5 round clip of ammo and being told to draw machine gun fire, before charging across Red square straight into machine gun fire while still carrying only the ammo.

11. Gears of War/Gears of War 2 -360

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Gears of War I’ve recently rediscovered, mainly due to the horde mode in GoW2. The graphics are awesome, as is the cover system and the generous amount of gore. The story is good for what it is and theres a good variety of enemies and weapons, including the famous chainsaw bayonet. Horde is just pretty awesome, 5 players in coop just digging in against a ton of Locust. Simple but it gives so much replayibility.

12. Batman: Arkham Asylum -360,PS3, PC

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A game where you can truly feel like Batman, coupled with amazing production values, story, voice acting and a simple but effective control scheme. Theres a ton of collectibles and riddles to solve, and when you’ve finished the game you can play through the generous challenges, as Batman or the Joker if you have the PS3 version.

13. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune –PS3

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This game marries beautiful graphics and excellent storytelling in the mould of Indiana Jones. The platforming works very well, especially as you’re often climbing up cliffs in the middle of a jungle, so the views are just stunning. The gunplay works well and the characters are very likeable, and theres a ton of collectible treasures to find. My only criticism is the kind of weird turn the last 1/3 of the game took. I’ve not played the sequel yet though.

14. Dead Space -360,PS3, PC

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Dead Space has a great horror atmosphere similar to RE4, as well as great graphics and a similar system of upgrading guns, extended to your suit as well. There are inventive enemies as well as an inventive combat system in which you blow off limbs rather than go for the head.

15. Gran Turismo 4 –PS2

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Gran Turismo 4s just a great driving simulator, thats well ahead of its time for the PS2, boasting tons and tons of cars and tracks as well as brilliant graphics for the hardware, with an added almost RPG system of progression.

16. Lord of the Rings: The Third Age –PS2,Xbox

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The Third Age is a really solid RPG in which you play as a kind of second fellowship shadowing the first. As a result you’re present for all the events of the films but the game has the freedom to go off and do its own thing. Its a very well put together RPG and the turn based combat and exploration work well. My only real criticism is that some of the characters are pretty annoying, and some of the special attacks have very tedious animations.

17. Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth -PC

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This is a really great RTS which recreates the events of the films really well. It looks great and controls great, and the heroes have really cool powers. My favourite part was a user created map which pitted all the heroes against increasingly difficult enemies, starting with just Orcs and ending up with armies of trolls.

18. Red Dead Redemption -360,PS3

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I haven’t had this game for that long but I can already see that its [bleep]ing amazing. Apart from doing crazy stuff I’ve never liked GTA that much, but this game stands on its own merit without needing stuff like flipping cars and ramming helicopters into the Empire State Building. The graphics look brilliant as well especially the horses, and theres pretty much everything you could thing of in a western to do, from capturing bandits to herding cattle. The multiplayers pretty sweet as well.

19. Star Wars Battlefront -Xbox,PS2,PC

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Basically this game is a Star Wars version of Battlefield. You can cruise around in an AT-AT or fly around in an X-Wing, all the time bringing the pain to AI bots, which was pretty much all I used to do in splitscreen with friends.

20. Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast -PC

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Basically this game lets you play as disgraced Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn, with all the badass force powers you can imagine, as you work to uncover an evil plot hatched by some evil dark Jedi. The force powers were what really made this game awesome, as well as the lightsaber play and the really nice graphics for its time. My only problem with it is that for the first few levels you didn’t have force powers or a lightsaber and it played as a kind of boring FPS.

21. Spartan: Total Warrior –PS2,Xbox,GC

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This is the first game I got on my PS2, and it basically plays a lot like God of War without the platforming. Its from the creators of the Total War games and its a shame it never took off to become a franchise because its actually really good, with plenty of badass weapons, enemies and god powers to use, and a nice arena mode and collectibles.

22. Forza Motorsport 3 -360

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I’ve not had this game for long either but the amount of cars, tracks and attention to detail is staggering. The ability to create your own decals is amazing and you can literally create anything, and then you can sell it on the marketplace as if it was a MMORPG. The tag multiplayer mode is hilarious as well.

23. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force –PS2,PC

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I don’t even like Star Trek Voyager but this game turned out to be surprisingly good. Fun weapons, fun characters, a long and interesting campaign, and a pretty fun multiplayer mode with AI bots. It looked pretty nice as well and built up a good horror atmosphere as it progressed.

24. Medieval 2: Total War/Kingdoms expansions

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The sequel to Rome, this Total War is graphically amazing. You can see individual soldiers engage in individual duels, and see crossbowmen load their bolts, cannons shake the ground, and a whole host of graphical improvements. There are some interesting campaigns as well, e.g. against the Aztecs. I think I preferred the gameplay of Rome however, as well as the time period.

25. Hercules Action game –PC, PS1?

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This isn’t even that good of a game, but I included it because its one of the first games I played, and for a long, long time I was stuck on the third level, and when I finally beat it it was such a feeling of accomplishment even though I must have been about 7 or something. It is a pretty competently made 2d platformer though, even though I don’t care for them.

Bungie signs 10 year exclusive publishing agreement with Activision

30 April 2010 - 05:19 PM

US, April 29, 2010 - This morning, Bungie announced it signed a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision, a deal which gives the studio complete control over its new franchise.

IGN spoke with Bungie writer Joseph Staten and community manager Brian Jarrard this morning to discuss the developer's new publishing deal with Activision. Staten says the deal had been in the works for several years, dating back to 2007, when the studio first separated from Microsoft.

"The deal that we ended up signing began in 2007 when we became independent from Microsoft and we really looked at where we wanted to be in the future in the kind of deal that we wanted to sign," he said. "And Bungie from the outset wanted to sign a deal where we remained independent, where we owned our own creation and maintain control of it, and where we could reach as many people as possible."

"As we spent the next couple years really forming this idea and trying to develop this big new universe, we got to the point about a year ago where we were able to show publishers like Activision what our vision was for the next 10 years of Bungie games," he added.

Staten said Bungie received offers from just about every company looking to publish the next big franchise from the studio, including Microsoft, but in the end Activision's deal felt the most comfortable for the group.

"Of all the deals we looked at, and we certainly had a lot of deals we could have done, Activision's deal was amazing," he said. "Not just because it set us up financially and supported us for the next ten years, but also because they cared about the same things we cared about. They cared about Bungie being independent, owning its own creation, guiding that creation, and for us that was an amazing deal."

"We haven't settled for other deals over the last two or three years. We waited to sign the deal that was right for us, and this is absolutely the right deal for us," Staten added.

Brian Jarrard added that the deal allows Bungie to have full control over its franchise, something the studio wasn't able to do under Microsoft with Halo.

"We will own what we create and through this partnership, Bungie will have complete ownership of this new IP," Jarrad said. "Right out of the gate that eliminated discussions with many potential partners because it's an unprecedented deal in this day and age to let the developer own the IP."

"We want to remain independent, we definitely aren't being acquired by Activision, and they're not buying a stake in the studio. We're still very much an independent company."

Jarrard wouldn't discuss whether or not Sony or Nintendo fans could see a game on their consoles, but said the studio is looking at every available platform.

"We are looking at a multi-platform release, whatever that ends up being," he said.

Staten added that the team is looking forward to working on many different platforms, but only where it makes sense for Bungie's new universe.

"We're excited to look at any platforms that make sense for the games that we're going to create. Any console platform, any device. Our eyes are wide open and looking at all possibilities," Staten said. "That's something Bungie hasn't been able to do over the last ten years. It was exciting to for us to look at all the offers on the table that we could sign with, having the freedom to tell our stories to as many people as possible. That was a big deal for us."

It appears Bungie won't be developing for any other publisher for the next decade. Staten said he doesn't see the studio focusing on other projects that were not under the Activision deal once Halo: Reach is completed and shipped.

"This deal is for this brand new universe. I think Bungie works best when everybody at the studio is working on one creative task," he said. "Once Halo: Reach is done, we'll look to get everyone back under the same umbrella to focus on making this new universe really great."

As for Bungie's next project, Staten said development began as far back as 2007 when the team began to gather and focus ideas. Since then, their project has become clearer.

"The last nine months with shopping our ideas to potential publishers, our ideas have become a lot more specific. We've really been able to present people with a plan for ten years of gaming experiences," he said, "We're in pre-production more right now, but our pre-production is a lot more specific and forward looking than we've ever been. We've taken some stabs in the dark, and we know maybe the kind of stories we want to tell five or ten years from now. We never did that with Halo way back when. We didn't have the opportunity to be that forward-looking."

So Bungie is making another first-person shooter, right? Well, maybe not. Staten said the studio is excited about being able to create whatever type of game they want.

"I think you can expect it to be an action game. That's the kind of games we like to make and play. We're excited to make the best action game ever. Bungie has a long history of making all kinds of games for almost 20 years," he said. "This isn't an announcement of just one game; this is an announcement of ten years of experiences on as many platforms as it makes sense. This is an opportunity for Bungie to flex its creative muscle however it wants."

The Halo franchise grew so large that Microsoft had to create its own separate company, 343 Industries, to control how and where the series expands to beyond just gaming. Master Chief has shown up on Mountain Dew drinks, board games, and even pajamas. This time around, however, Bungie will get the final say.

"New IP boxer shorts jokes aside, Bungie is in this wonderful position where if we wanted to make movies, cartoons, books, or comics, Bungie gets to decide to do that now. We'll get to decide what makes sense," said Staten. "How many games do we want to make? What kind of comics do we want to do? Whatever makes sense for this new universe and stories we're going to tell, that's now in partnership with Activision. It's Bungie's call. As great as our partnership with Microsoft has been, that really wasn't our call."

This new deal allows Bungie to share work and development ideas with Activision's other developers, including Blizzard, creators of the popular World of Warcraft series.

"We're excited in working with Blizzard, one of the studios that we've respected for a long time. We love playing their games. They have a really big, talented team with a lot of experience. We're looking forward to working more closely with those guys and everybody else on the Activsion side."

Despite Activision's current legal battle with Infinity Ward over ownership rights of the Call of Duty franchise, Bungie said fans shouldn't worry, and that this new deal with Activision remains completely separate from that dispute.

"We're not concerned. It doesn't really affect us. We dive down into the details of the deal and understand the differences between the two situations; we really hope it won't worry our fans either," Staten said. "It's a little disappointing that we had to announce this really exciting news for Bungie this week. But we knew in this industry that secrets don't stay secret for a very long time."

So when will fans be able to get a look at Bungie's new game? Staten said you probably won't hear anything new until at least 2011.

"The rest of 2010 is all Halo: Reach for us. So I wouldn't expect to hear anything else about this new universe until after that."


Personally I don't care as I don't care about Halo, but maybe they will make something new that will actually be good.

Double cosmics > nature runes?

03 May 2009 - 12:33 PM

I've come back after a year away and found that nat crafting is now pretty bad money. I've got the level to craft double cosmics and figure that getting 2x 149gp is better than 1x 225 gp. The only flaw I can see in this is if people have stopped buying cosmics for some reason.

Also I was planning on making 1k pure ess worth of cosmics, selling 1k cosmics to pay for the ess and then using the other 1k cosmics at the mage training arena. Is this still a good way to train magic or has something better been added since a year ago?


12 March 2009 - 05:45 PM

Melee combat stats mean nothing because of bandits. When will Jagex stop penalising players who do not AFK?

At least when you haven't "bandited" you can take some satisfaction in knowing that your stats mean something.

How to find my PSU wattage.

09 March 2009 - 07:20 PM

I'm looking to install a new graphics card on my PC, which is a Dell Dimension 4600. I think my PSU is 250w from looking around the internet. Is there any way to check other than literally opening my PC? I tried running dxdiag but that didn't show it. Any similar programs I could use?