The Scrap Yard

How to Make Watch_Dogs Presentable

When Ubisoft sends its games out on PC, it knows better than to let there be visual parity between the master race’s version and that of the console peasants. In all seriousness though, it has been proven by file diggers that Ubisoft DID in fact dumb down the PC version to ease PS4 users’ inevitable tears lest there be any difference in visual quality between the two. Luckily though, those same file diggers are managing to bring back what made Watch_Dogs at 2012’s E3 conference so visually great.ryjev6x1epeoisolvaun

Click here to be taken to the mod, and save your version of Watch_Dogs on the PC from being anything less than all it can be. I know I’m a little late on reporting this, but every time I boot up the game, this mod just stands out as the reason to keep coming back.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Syndicate for Xbox 360

If I hadn’t listened to the media and had played Syndicate in 2012, it would’ve been on that top 5 list. Hell, it might’ve been number 2. It’s THAT good. It’s three of my favorite things wrapped up into a nice, gun-toting package: Halo, TRON and the Matrix. The only thing missing from Syndicate is Keanu Reeves.images

Syndicate is the story of a dystopic future where businesses have more power than governments, and have private militaries to enforce their products. The majority of humans have chip-implants in their heads linked to their favorite businesses. In other words, Apple gets a lot bigger in the next few years.

The story is enough to make the gameplay believable, where you go around “breaching” (hacking and inserting viruses) into enemies’ chips and software, giving you godlike powers. You can go into a special slo-mo matrix mode called DART overlay, which makes all enemies visible and slows time to a halt. This means you can do everything from getting an enemy to kill themselves and surrounding foes to slow-mo headshotting five guards in under a second. It’s a seriously intense combo.

Syndicate doesn’t rely solely on its extremely cool gimmicks (although they are enough to support the game on their own), offering a wide variety of weapons for the player to use. Everything from rocket launchers to flame throwers are at your disposal, allowing you to shock, cut open or burn your enemies to a crisp all in the most stylish of ways. This wide variety of firearms coupled with the fantastic breaching mechanic adds up to one awesome gameplay experience, and there are even minor elements of first-person parkour to ice the cake. Overally, the gameplay is kick-ass.Syndicate-2012-03-01-12-25-51-63

The single player campaign makes full use of all the gameplay features I discussed above, and creates a really fun eight to nine hour experience. The story is relatively engrossing, the characters are memorable, and Kilo (the agent you play as) is a complete bad-ass. Unlike Splinter Cell: Conviction, it actually makes sense for this main character to be an unstoppable tank, which I absolutely love. With all of the compliments that I’ve given the campaign, I will stress that it’s nothing more than a tutorial for the amazing online co-op, which in all actuality is the real meat of Syndicate.

The co-op is the only form of multiplayer in Syndicate, but this is good for two reasons: No online pass from EA, and that all of the issues with competitive FPS multiplayer mechanics are instantly avoided. This allows you to have nonstop co-op fun, which is easy to do provided everyone who still plays Syndicate online is relatively good. Another easy way to ensure a good group for co-op is to join a syndicate, this game’s form of the clan system. It’s a REALLY cool in-game feature that allows for great leaderboard competition between syndicates and encourages you to play a lot and contribute to your syndicate’s overall score. Playing isn’t a hassle either, as the multitude of maps for co-op are all well designed and are scaled perfectly for the three difficulties the game offers. Each difficulty offers a different experience and allows for a tough as nails challenge, something a true gamer always wants.imagessyndicatre

Before we get to the part where I say “In conclusion, go out and buy multiple copies of Syndicate for yourself and everyone you know” I have to list some pros and cons so you get the idea of how much this game excels.

-Gameplay mechanics like breaching are fantastic and well-developed
-Mission structure in campaign is solid and tells a good story
-characters and premise are cool
-Co op is fantastic
-Creating the ultimate syndicate with others is addicting
-Atmosphere literally radiates the Matrix
-Soundtrack is the best of the best dubstep (Skrillex? Yep. Nero? Check.)

-Campaign may not satisfy players who only want Syndicate’s singleplayer component
-Main character Kilo may not engross some players
-Online servers have occasional hiccups

Needless to say, Syndicate is kick-ass. Rocking out to Skrillex while slow-mo shotgunning an agent in the skull while brainwashing his partner to help you is oodles of fun, and provides the best FPS experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. I’m extremely sad that sales of this game were so lacking and caused EA to lose any incentive in a sequel, so the best plan of action I can recommend is to go out and buy this game for anyone and everyone so that EA can see there is a community that will buy another Syndicate. This is one FPS that really deserves another installment.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3 for PS Vita

This game blew so hard on the Xbox. So hard. But the Vita version looked like a better package all around, what with its touchscreen controls and added game modes. Was the investment worth it? Was this the massively improved version of the biggest rip-off ever that I’d hoped for? Read on to find out!imagesCAOIL5F8

When it comes to king of suckery at fighter games, I rule the kingdom. Not only do I faulter hideously at blocking, but seeing me do a combo successfully is as rare as a good Twilight movie. Needless to say, I’m not the best player out there. In all honesty, I just like playing fighters, even though I suck horribly at them, which is why I bothered getting into MvC3 in the first place. Luckily for me, the PS Vita version successfully quenches my thirst for a Marvel and Capcom fighter while also providing a miracle switch for my hideous lack of fighter talent! This miracle switch is called touchscreen mode, and I whole-heartedly recommend you go out and get this game if you enjoy but suck at fighters like me. I’ll go further in-depth on this, but if that’s all you came here to find out, then that’s your answer. Anyway, the touchscreen controls are a Godsend, as all you have to do is repeatedly tap the enemy (or yourself) and flashy, fantastic combos will perform themselves in quick, lightning succession. It’s a flurry of images, sound effects and tapping, and it’s the sort of mindless fun I want my UMvC3 to be.

As far as other improvements go upon the original game, there’s this cool new mode that lets you play through a territory-control style minigame while achieving new turf by fighting others either online or off. It’s really neat, and if you have a clan or something similar, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. The basic modes from the orignal game are still present, and the overall package feels really solid.

Overall, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Vita Edition is just barely good enough for me to recommend you get it, even if you hated its console brethren. It’s not the all-inclusive package that you might get from, say, Persona 4 Arena, but it’s still a damn good time. For fighting game noobs or hardcore gamers who want some Capcom gaming on the go, this one’s a must.

The Scrap Yard

Top 3 Unsung Heroes of 2012 Gaming (Xbox 360)

After deliberating long and hard, I keep feeling the need to make an honorable mentions list. Sure, the top 5 list was full of quality games, but there were a few other titles that came darn close to win my GOTY as well. As I see the “best of 2012” blog post season is still in full swing, what better a time than now for me to acknowledge the runners up of this year’s gaming highlights?

3.) Max Payne 3

This game rocked my socks, to the core. I actually enjoyed the story of this more than any other video game I’ve played to date, and that’s something worth mentioning. When a game gets you emotionally driven and encourages you to continue the balls-to-the-wall gameplay just to see the next cutscene, you know something is good. Really good.            

2.) Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (Xbox Live Arcade)

Even if it doesn’t make you sh*t yourself quite as much as the original Alan Wake, it still serves as a frightful reminder to how good an arcade title can be. It takes a lot for an arcade game to impress me, and most just sink to the depths of my Xbox’s hard drive, relatively unloved (Trials Evolution review coming soon). Yes, Wake’s adventure was something to be marveled at this year, delivering the content of a full retail release and the quality of a triple A title within the price and data constraints of an Xbox Live Arcade title.

1.) Resident Evil 6RE6-21512-15

I was REALLY on the fence as to whether I wanted this as my #5 GOTY or TC’s: Ghost Recon, and we all know who won that battle (and if you don’t, be sure to click this link to see my Top 5 Games of 2012). Although Ghost Recon got the title by a hair, RE6 is nothing short of outstanding. With four intertwining campaigns, fantastic co-op, fun multiplayer and all-around great atmosphere, this game deserves its title as best honorable mention game of 2012.

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Review of “Les Miserables”

Russell Crowe was fantastic., I’ll take you down. Javert forever!Les-Miserables-Character-Poster-les-miserables-2012-movie-32446296-541-800

Les Miserables is a movie-musical starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and a host of other stars supporting smaller roles like Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. They all have surprisingly solid vocal skills and ranges, and as I write this review I’m listening to the official soundtrack.

Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a past felon who tears up his parol papers in the eyes of God, and becomes a better man, escaping his past identity… for a while. On the flip side, Javert portrayed by Russell Crowe, refuses to let this escapee get the better of him, and hunts the lost Jean Valjean tirelessly. Anne Hathaway plays Fantine, which I believe was a beverage at some point? But now Fantine is a poor mom turned prostitute turned dead. But my God, Anne Hathaway does the job well, as far as dead prostitute mothers go. Her handful of songs brought me close to tears, and are definitely some of the strongest points in the movie. And it’s always good to have strong points in a movie, especially one that’s three hours long.

Three hours.

Part of me wants to say it was just too damn long, but when I think about the bits I would’ve cut… none come to mind. Maybe three hour movies just aren’t my thing. The acting from everyone was solid throughout, the singing fantastic, the set pieces memorable… but the balance between that and how numb your legs are after getting up from the theatre seats almost cancel eachother out.

One important thing before I wrap up my review is to mention how awesome Samantha Barks was. From reality TV show to here is impressive enough, but seeing her knock the roll of Eponine out of the park is just astounding. As much as I loved Russell Crowe, he’s established, whereas Samantha just came out of nowhere. So claps for Bark and her emotional performance, easily the most memorable out of them all.

Do I recommend you go see Les Miserables? If you’re feeling artsy, go see it. If you’re feeling Glee-ey, go see it. If you want a gritty cinematic representation of Les Mis (the book), don’t see it. I personally loved it, going in completely blind with no background info on it whatsoever, other than that Anne Hathaway was in it. And although a little tired at the end of the three hours, I fully admit the music alone was worth it.