Tomb Raiding

I think I noted somewhere that my most favourite franchise after BattleTech is Tomb Raider. I am sure many are aware that the new game was released to pretty good reviews. I’ve been eyeing the prices until I found one I was comfortable and picked it up over the week.

268-tomb-raiderI well remember the hours I puzzled away at the original and the enjoyment I got from it. I do have all of the games since, but have only played bits and pieces of them but due to other commitments, never finished another. I enjoyed what I did see of them.

This one has been no different than that… a lot of fun. It’s early stages is not so much about puzzles and figuring which combinations of ledges to jump to, but I’m hopeful that at least a bit of that will come. This early stages is more about surviving.

It’s tough without her trusty automatics though. Trying to line up a charging wolf with a bow is hard work. I think I’ve died every possible way so far except falling too far. I’ve been choked, mauled, crushed by rocks, burned, shot (arrow and bullet) …  lol.

Having come from a WoW background and the strongest TR memories being the first one in 1997, the graphics have improved… well enormously, lol. On the PS3 the game is very fluid. I hear of some breaks on the PC version, something to do with quicktime events, but I don’t see this on the PS3. The graphics might be weaker, but really I still enjoy the first ones, so graphics isn’t the be all (and never should be).

Compared to my most recent The Walking Dead game, this is a lot more of an action game and less of a choose your story one. Subsequently there is a lot more to do, and Lara is more directly under your control.

I highly recommend it so far. It’s no shoot em up, thankfully, but I do hope things calm down some and I can spend some serious time leaping about caverns and exploring the island, at least for a little bit 🙂


XCom – Vale: CAPT Matsumoto

RIP Captain “Ghost” Matsumoto.

The Temple ship is destroyed, Earth is saved. XCom has accomplished its goals and the team returned home, almost unscathed.

(Some Spoilers Ahead)

CAPT Matusmoto, the team sniper and also the psi gifted member sacrificed himself at the moment of ultimate defeat in order to snatch victory from the terrible forces about to destroy the planet. Forcing his teammates from the ship he turned back to the ship’s bridge and without regard for his life, gained control of the ship that was tearing itself apart (and the earth with it). He managed to force the ship to a safe distance before the ship was destroyed. His body has not been recovered.




The team progressed carefully through the ship, facing all of the aliens that had been opponents throughout this alien crisis, from the easily destroyed Sectoids and Thin Men to the tougher Cyberdiscs and Sectopods.

Throughout the mission I had an ominous feeling that victory in this mission would lead to the ultimate failure in XCom’s mission to protect the Earth. The ships commander provided comment and assessments as we progressed and the general feeling was of doing exactly what he wanted us to do. Had the whole XCom project created exactly the supersoldier that the aliens desired, created them out of us!

The Temple Ship Commander – The Uber Ethereal


Several tough battles were fought by the team. A pair of Sectopods were probably the toughest opponents before they made it to the bridge. Careful use of grenades, sniper shots and Shredder Rockets saved the team several times and by the time the bridge was assaulted no one had been killed. A memorable moment occurred when a Drone wandered into an area where all six team members were on Overwatch. Six shots reached out and annihilated the drone.

Once on the bridge it was clear that this is what the aliens had wanted. The Psi troop would become the start of their newest breed of soldiers.

Two Muton Elite, two Ethereal and the Uber Ethereal meant there was a lot of mind control ability available to the enemy. The team spread wide across the room, so that if any were mind controlled it would be hard to shoot at teammates. However they were all placed to be able to shoot the Uber.

Several shots were deflected in the first round, however a successful rocket hit and one other had him on low points, before their turn. 2 members were mind controlled, but a hit from another trooper before a careful shot from CAPT Matsumoto destroyed the Uber, in the process destroying the other aliens on the bridge. Victory was ours!

Then the ship started to disintegrate. At XCom headquarters it was clear the ship was about to destroy itself, taking the planet with it.

Onboard, CAPT Matsumoto’s psi powers let him see the ships plans and that’s when he knew what was required.

XCOM – Short Review

OMG I finished another game! And I did enjoy XCOM. I may even go back and try it again, perhaps on a more difficult setting, or with a different start base. Unless you are violently opposed to turn based games then I recommend this game to you.

Two games finished now and its only February, what’s in store for March?

……… actually I’ve started Trine 2……..

XCom – Final stage

I HAVE A PSYKER!!! Well it’s only taken me almost two months (though that’s only about a dozen plays or so) but I finally found another psi gifted troop.

I had some tips over the month to try folks with strong Will score. This score builds as yo level your troops and I had been testing all mine as soon as the arrive as recruits, hence the terrible run of failures.

As the last batch of the old test regime finished (no psi) I found one Captain that hadn’t been tested, hmm, a sniper that we’ve heard so much about before.

10 days of testing and he’s passed! So I kit him up with the Psi-amour and I am informed that he is powerful enough to use the Gallop Chamber.

Woohoo, I can finally move on to the final mission.

At this point the game warns you that any further research or engineering is impossible. That’s fine for me as I have warehouses full of stuff to equip more than just a 6 man team. I have at least 8 full Colonels (though none support or sniper) ready and waiting for deployment on this mission.

The Gallop Chamber is activated and an assault on the Temple ship is now possible. The team is assembled, the psi trooper must participate and he must survive the assault. I kit out my best troops and launch.


As I type the team has arrived at the ship and had its first combats with the alien crew……

XCom – Sniper Reshoot

I finally got a chance to rerun the mission that ended so epically for the Sniper, but so tragically for his team.

This time I decided to take some of the first line team, only the Sniper and Support members would be trainees. This should improve their overall survivability and enhance their hit chances. I added one hover drone as well. The tracked ones don’t work well in ships as they can get hung up behind bodies occasionally.


Two Sectopods, and a collection of Muton Elites were moved through without too many problems. The second Sectopod destroyed my drone, but as a mechanical I don’t really mind. It’s a firepower loss for the mission, but not a loss of training investment overall.

As I reached the control room the team managed to eliminate the Ethereal in the first exchange so without fear of mind control or reflected damage the team quickly finished off the last two Mutons for a completed mission and a lift home.

The game counts the loss of the drone as an operative loss, which I think is quite annoying. There is no where near the investment in these compared to the troops.

But a success, and the Sniper earned a promotion whilst I set about building a second spare hover drone (I have one online as a spare already).

Still another set of troops through Psi testing without success. This is getting pretty silly really. Another batch has been sent down to the lab, fingers crossed.


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I shall fear no evil, for I will destroy them with my plasma sniper rifle….


I downed a Battleship class UFO, these are big and the crews are heavy hitters. I’ve been levelling a crew of new troops, trying especially for a new sniper and a new support troop, while I recruit and test looking for psi active troops. This meant I sent a pretty underskilled response team into this UFO.

The biggest problem with the low skilled teams is that even though they are heavily armed and armoured, they miss more often. This is the main reason that as my section of 4 (I’d already lost a man – stabilised awaiting medivac and my drone) approached the bridge of the ship and the Ethereal alien (and his guard) there that they were whittled down to one sniper in the exchange. He was left facing two full strength Muton Elite. And there were hints of another group of aliens elsewhere in the ship that would need to be cleared. One Squaddie, with the plasma sniper rifle, a standard issue sidearm and a single grenade.

In his favour is that he had good cover for the moment, and if he could use his main weapon he could inflict serious damage. But the restrictions on his weapon meant that to fire it, he couldn’t move that turn.

Taking cover behind a bulkhead he forced the enemy to come around the corner to shoot him, but several turns passed without them appearing. He threw his last grenade over the damaged wall injuring one Muton that was covering on the other side. With one location identified, he sprinted across the opening to cover on the other side, taking fire from the second Muton. Now he knew where they both were.

In a fine show of courage under fire, taking fire from the two Mutons, the sniper calmly reduced his opposition to zero, his Titan Armour Suit absorbing the enemy’s fire in at least one exchange.

Switching to his pistol so he could fire and move the sniper cleared to the forward of the ship, the whole time haunted by enemy sounds far in the rear of the ship. Reaching the front of the ship and no aliens found, the sniper turned around and stalked slowly through the shadows of the vessel for the remaining alien defenders. He did have to kick himself for leaving his plasma pistol at the base, stuck with his normal sidearm.

Near the front of the ship he froze. Ahead was the unmistakable sight of a Sectopod and Drone. He damaged the drone before withdrawing, hoping that he could draw the Sectopod into the fire of his rifle.


The drone followed immediately and another pistol shot saw it destroyed. The advantage of killing the drone first is that it will repair the Sectopod if left alive.

The sniper climbed to higher ground but found himself in the line of fire from the Sectopod so he immediately dropped to safety down the other side of the pillar. The Sectopod would have to take a longer path to approach him. However the Sectopod has an indirect area attack so just waiting would be suicidal.

There was only one thing to do now – he must take cover in direct sight of the hulking menace in order to kill it.

3 shots later and the Sectopod’s main cannon exploded destroying it.

An epic solo effort that deserved far more than a simple promotion from SQUADDIE to CORPORAL. With three members dead, one critcally wounded and our drone destroyed the price of victory, as epic as it was, is too high. The temporal gods will realign the cosmos and the mission will be rerun.

But SQ Matsumoto’s efforts will be remembered.

Oh no, I’ve got no Psykers!

x-com-enemy-unknown-3-1Working my way through XCom still. I built the Hyperwave Relay and assaulted the UFO it eventually detected. My engineers are busily building some contraption to allow Psi trained soldiers to access/communicate?? or something so we can get at the aliens behind the whole invasion.

I don’t have any psi gifted troops on my roster at the moment. I have tested everyone, but every one successful has died within a mission or so. I’m going to have to recruit, test and train a bunch from scratch. The good thing is that I really need to redo my snipers as I have totally picked the wrong skill for all of them early on, I should have picked squad sight. There’s that silver lining 🙂

Training a bunch of noob soldiers will be tough as the aliens are getting really tough now. I’m facing the walking mechanicals almost every other mission at the moment along with some large hp hitters. Whilst my men can now absorb at least one attack from most aliens and have some serious firepower to hit back with, they are still tough kills.

I have no serious upgrades left either. Just some extra stuff around the peripherals which do add options, but no serious hitting power or protection upgrades.

On another note, I am seriously considering a third computer for the house. I upgraded the PC in order to let it run the media services in the house, but the kids are now hogging both the computers. I am leaning towards a cheapish, small footprint PC, something that will do iView, YouTube and iTunes, email and stuff, in a little case with a big screen. Upgrade the main PC video card at the same time, giving the kids the iMac and the new one, and the big PC for me to game on.

Might just keep it as a thought until I finish XCom though… no need to rush into things.

Desk space could be a problem too

XCom – turning up the heat

The Sectoid alien. These are quickly replaced by tougher enemies.
The Sectoid alien. These are quickly replaced by tougher enemies.

Oh my, this is starting to get tough now. I’ve been steadily upgrading my troops equipment, so now I have a full complement of Titan Armour and Plasma Weapons for all. I’ve even started building a couple of Plasma equipped S.H.I.V (I forget what it stands for, but its an armed robot, looks kinda like those bomb disposal robots). So I’m geared up… but so is the enemy.

A lot of them have shown up in upgraded versions, elites with better weapons and tougher to kill. So far working as a team and concentrating my firepower in both location and time is proving effective (except for my Heavy gunner skill at missing the target).

My last mission had me investigating a UFO landing – they have great loot that’s fantastic for building stuff. Just prior to this mission I faced a new enemy, a walking tank with very heavy weapons. It can fire twice per turn with the choice of a wide beam weapon, some kind of ballistic AOE weapon or a self defense plasma weapon. With 30 hit points and up to 2 repair drones floating beside it, its a tough opponent. (my toughest troops have about 20 hit points)

My first meeting went poorly, with 3 troops quickly dead. A restart and a change of tactics helped and I got past it. If you’ve faced the Cyberdiscs, these are much worse.

Now back to the UFO landing – I came up against not one, not two but three of these machines, almost one after another (thankfully, not at the same time….yikes!). I lost two troops (including a Psi Colonel which sucks) but put all three down.

Tips (These are aimed at fighting the Sectopod, but most apply equally to all opponents) –

  • Use your heavy weapons, don’t forget the Shredder Rocket.
  • Stay in heavy cover (the beam can shoot straight through light walls, cars etc).
  • Don’t group up, it invites AOE attacks, and lets you flank.
  • Have you team organised to step out of cover and shoot at the Sectopod, the whole team, in the same turn. Concentration of Fire – Principles of War 101.
  • Don’t forget your Sniper’s Headshot ability
  • Take out the drones first as they provide a significant repair ability to the main unit. They also shoot, but are easy to kill.
  • I haven’t tried it, but capturing a drone may help.

So before the enemy gets too tough, I’ve decided to move the storyline ahead and am building the Hyperwave something. Let’s see what that brings.

Haven’t got to it…

There’s been a significant new patch in MWO – map changes, a new mech, new hero mechs, a whole bunch of tweaks.

But I haven’t even started the game in more than a week. Honestly the motivation just isn’t there.

I’m enjoying XCom much more at the moment. I think I’m actually getting somewhere, though its hard to tell. The aliens have gotten a bit tougher in the last few outings, but my troops are still working through the missions. Teamwork is helping a lot there. The turn based fighting is probably simpler than the real time C&C type game, but it still has its own tricks and strategies.

I am always chronically short of money though. I’m not sure if that’s normal. I suspect that it is, as that’s how the developers have limited us. With infinite money, imagine what I could build 🙂

Christmas is around the corner so work has finished for me. School has finished for Miss 5 too. Mrs is still working for a couple more days. Then its present time 🙂

Merry Christmas to everyone, hope you have a great few days and get some cool stuff…. me, I’m hoping for a new bike, but can’t see a bike sized crate anywhere in the house yet, lol.

Tired of not getting anywhere

I logged in for some serious game time last night. I hung about in the Corp teamspeak for a while prompting folks to get at least a 4 man going… then missed out on the invite, argh. Launched into a PUG as I was so frustrated – probably not the best mood to launch in….

Frozen City and I hung back. It was evident that there was a lot of ECM about still. The enemy pushed unmolested through the tunnel and spied me easily on my own. Never a good situation. I warned the team and backed up, but the two full frontals from an Atlas quickly cleaned me up.

In a fit of frustration I ragequit and went and turned on the PS3 again.

I have two problems – I am getting behind the skill curve with the current changes… I haven’t found a way to play within them yet. Second, I’m just not getting enough playtime to improve it. Its actually even worse than WoW was, as I could stumble my way through quests and PUG some things and still get somewhere. This game is a little more easy to learn, hard to master.

Or maybe its just me…

To be fair, I have had only three attempts at playing since the ECM patch and they weren’t very long so perhaps I just need to get in there in a serious onslaught and practice practice practice… The holidays are coming up…

Frozen City launch. About 2 mins later I'm a pile of burning wreckage :(
Frozen City launch. About 2 mins later I’m a pile of burning wreckage 😦

On a better note, I am enjoying XCom. Plays very like the original. I am starting to worry that my months of hardwork (in game) is about to come crashing down as I face tougher aliens, and have some serious panic levels in some areas.. But I am having fun.

PlayStation Report

Ah, I’m enjoying this PS3. I hit the shops yesterday and rummaged through the sale and preowned stuff to see if I could get some interesting games for cheap. I’ve never been one to grab the latest games, mostly as I don’t feel like paying that much. And I haven’t usually finished the last one at that point.

So anyway I added Dirt 3 and Batman: Arkham City to my collection. XCom is good, and a real thinker game. I’m getting nervous though as I usually don’t end up to well in these build, strategise in the end game. So we’ll see. It’s very similar to the original game though, and that’s good. So I’ve been working away slowly at it during the week.

XCom Enemy Unkown
XCom Enemy Unkown

I’ve been a big fan of rally games since the old Sega Rally game. I spent many hours in the old Colin McRae Rally games on the PS1. So with the good reviews, Dirt3, by the same company (Codemasters) seemed like a no brainer. This afternoon I sat down to have a go at their latest.

Dirt 3
Dirt 3

Wow, so familiar, yet better. Sure it didn’t have the WRC connection, but I think that might actually help as they can add in a whole range of race types. I did have to get used to the different default control layout, but quickly settled into following my co-drivers instructions… just like old times.

Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City

This evening though I cracked open Batman. I feel a bit silly as I just purchased it in the Steam sales, but I don’t think I’ll be playing it there. I’ve only just started so I’ve expected it to be a little linear as they tutor me in the controls. Hopefully this improves somewhat. Or it may be a bit like Assassins Creed with the side quests and challenges if you want to. About the only thing that’s bothering me is that the controls seem dynamic. They change depending upon the situation which is kinda making it hard to remember what to press to do what.

I started it a couple of times before I really read one of the warnings. It has a 3D mode. Finally I have use for those silly the glasses that came with my TV :).

It looks pretty cool in 3D, actually a lot better than in 2D. Sort of smoother edges and its umm more 3D lol. And it doesn’t matter that I only have 1 set of glasses.

So far I’ve met Catwoman, Two Face, The Penguin and Harley Quin. I think I saw a picture of Poison Ivy so the gang is all there. Very cool game.

So I’m enjoying the PS3 a fair bit. A lot more than I expected actually.