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PUBG and the Trusty Pan

Games and Gaming

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds aka PUBG aka Plunkbat has been cropping up on a lot of people’s Steam friends lists lately. I’m here to extol the virtues of one of its most humble weapons: Pan. On its face, it’s just another melee weapon like Crowbar, Sickle, and Machete. Sure, it’s better camouflaged than the red Crowbar that tends to stick out while prone. The shiny steel of the Machete or Sickle can catch the eye compared to the seasoned patina of Pan. But that’s not what makes it special:

Unlike its brethren, it can block bullets while strapped to your back or held in the hand. As opposed to the game’s purpose-made body armor and helmet, its sturdy cast-iron construction never degrades. Pan is eternal.

In preparation for the next “Battle Royale”, the backstage elves of Erangel (PUBG’s first map) presumably run around quickly restocking ammo from a massive stockpile hidden under Stalber mountain. Mechanics quickly gas up cars and patch up bullet holes in boat hulls. Scores of parachute riggers repack infallible primary chutes that ensure their occupants die after they hit the ground. But all the Pan gofers have to do is round up the Pans from the previous round, occasionally scrape off some flattened 9mm rounds, and return them to the nearest apartment kitchen or warehouse.

Only one squad wins, but Pan lives on.

mass effect 3 pistol
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Chasing the dream of “The Perfect Loadout”

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture

I wish there was a magic formula for setting up the perfect loadout in any game, but there are far too many variables. Including what you like to do, and – in some sense – who you are as a person.

Do you enjoy the satisfaction of rushing right up to an enemy and pummeling them to the ground? Then you’re not going to be happy with a sniper rifle, no matter how good it is. Conversely, if you enjoy peering off the edge of a high ledge and picking enemies off one by one in a courtyard far below, you’re going to hate a shotgun, even if it is the best shotgun. Continue reading

Far Cry 3 Cover
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Review: Far Cry 3

Games and Gaming, Reviews, Software, Technology

I am an avid gamer. I enjoy FPS games but they have to bring something extra. I like: The Mass Effect Series (sort of not, sort of yes, an FPS), The Borderlands Series and The Halo Franchise. Mostly I like them on the XBox. I think the XBox controller feels right. I’m looking forward to Watch Dogs and Tom Clancy’s The Division.

So I bought Far Cry 3 on sale because I’d heard great things about it and indeed, there were great things. The way that violence just sort of happens to you in Far Cry 3, even if you are in a protected, friendly area, is really fascinating. I didn’t think I would like it and I sort of don’t, but as you get stronger that violence, while still jarring, can get kind of fun(?).

The storyline is brutal and the main missions are on plot rails even if your method to get from point A to point B can be maddeningly complex with lots of options and sometimes few of them very good. I had a couple storyline missions where I would die and die and die trying variations on a thematic approach until I did something truly original and then had immediate success.

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Technical Peccadilloes Edition

Games and Gaming, News

We return after holidays, work, and the inevitable technical breakdowns, but we persevere to bring you another podcast! This week, we discuss the impossible: Minecraft goes 1.0, the unfortunate: GSC Game Studios and GamePro fold, and the stupid: EA continues their über-ban policy, parents name their kid after a character in Skyrim, Telltale gets caught sockpuppeting user reviews of Jurassic Park: The Game and Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera supports them, the International Red Cross opens their mouths to say that video games might be a war crime, the other shoe drops on the Playstation Vita, Microsoft makes you sign away your right to class-action lawsuits, and Skyward Sword has an unfixable game-breaking bug. And you wonder where our sunny disposition comes from. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 40 (12/10/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Tacticool Edition (11.11.11)

Games and Gaming, News

As is apropos on this Veteran’s Day, we spend most of this week’s podcast discussing the latest in modern military shooters, starting with our review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I ramble for a bit about what I’d like to see in a modern military shooter game, and why the “vision video” concept for Rainbow Six – Patriots is very much not that, Call of Duty Elite is delayed and borked, Battlefield 3 loses first week traffic numbers to a Call of Duty game, Steam gets hacked, and we talk about how Ubisoft and EA will punish us for being good paying customers through DRM. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast – Episode 39 (11/11/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Who Are You People Edition (11.02.11)

Games and Gaming, News

After a long absence, we have returned! Work and life may interfere, but nothing will stop us from nattering inanely into your earholes about beer! And games! Always with games.

After reviewing what we’ve been doing while we’ve been away, we dive right into the news with descriptions of the new Portal 2 Puzzle Creator, Battlefield 3 sells 5 million units in the first week and simultaneously destroys my faith in humanity and sets EA up for massive disappointment when Modern Warfare 3 inevitably sells that much in a day, the most unexpected Halloween special DLC pack we’ve ever seen, Blizzard jumps the shark and steps in it, and more, in this week’s hopefully final return of the Levels Of Detail Podcast. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 38 (11/02/11)

Intro Music: Caravan Palace – Crash

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: We’re Horrible, Horrible People Edition (09.15.11)

Games and Gaming, News

And once again, we return to you belatedly and with sadness in our hearts. Real life stupidly keeps on intruding into our efforts to bring you our particular brand of meaningless babble, and so here we are. This week, we cover such late-breaking news as Ubisoft removing the DRM from From Dust, freeing us to wonder why you would want to buy the game in the first place, EA continues making up for lost time with their dickery, the PC is resurgent while Nintendo continues to watch the bottom fall out of their business models, and we promote two things worthwhile: One, a pre-release beta of Minecraft‘s 1.8 Adventure release (which, due to our timeliness, is already out officially), and a Kickstarter donation page for the NASA astronaut sim MMO game, which is still ongoing and can be found here. Please, go forth and donate to a worthy cause, and remember to Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 37 (09/15/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Imposition of Regularity Edition

Games and Gaming, News

For reasons that are entirely unknown at this juncture, the podcast is going up a day late. Still, after enjoying the last blast of vacation before the end of summer, we’ve got a decent amount of news, both good and bad, to share with you today. The full majesty of EA’s idiotic plans with Battlefield 3 have become manifest, Ubisoft pisses off just about everyone, Epic Games hints at a return to PC-focused development, Sony decides to make the Playstation Vita possibly worth owning, and Bethesda decides they own all the scrolls. Plus, a very timely review of Fallout: New Vegas. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 36 (08/24/11)

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The 36 Stratagems of L4D2

Games and Gaming

The 36 Stratagems is a Chinese essay, derived from various written and oral accounts, offering Machiavellian advice in the realm of warfare and politics. The stratagems are presented as parables, making them flexible enough to apply to modern situations such as business, education, or… killing zombies.

To that end, I present The 36 Stratagems of Left 4 Dead 2, a guide that brings wisdom and cunning to the apocalypse.

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Easily Distracted Edition (08.04.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

We’re back from vacation this week, and as a consequence, we’re a little…loopy, and not just from our customary alcoholic beverages. Many tangents are had, odd routes followed, and a higher-than-average amount of movie references made, especially for an episode where so much actual news is imparted. Defense of the Ancients 2 will be revealed to the world at Gamescom in Cologne, the Humble Indie Bundle 3 is here, Australia makes serious steps towards an R18+ rating, and everyone decided to be stupid while we were gone, with Blizzard basically sticking a knife into the heart of their fanbase for Diablo 3, Ubisoft returning to always-on DRM for Driver: San Francisco and more, EA getting Dragon Age 2 pulled from Steam with their “me-first-gimmie-gimmie” approach to DLC, and Nintendo almost halves the price of the 3DS in an attempt to get people to buy their newest shiny toy. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 35 (08/04/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Tranquility Edition (07.18.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

We’re still a little tuckered out after last week’s rage-fueled barreling beast of a podcast, so this week, we decided that there wouldn’t be anything important announced. A fearful gaming industry obliged, and so we present to you a much more low-key, some would almost say sedate podcast. We do follow-up on the horrible, awful things that induced such anger last week (but in a much more calm and relaxed manner), Manhunt 2 goes not exactly into the West, but wherever awful exploitation games go, Planetside 2 becomes more interesting as a possible free-to-play game, EA buys Popcap Games, a cool bit of news about the upcoming Halo: Combat Evolved re-release, we mock poorly written product announcements, and the crew behind The Escapist’s Extra Credits series decide to do something awesome with the enormous pile of money they suddenly find themselves sitting on. Thank you, and please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 34 (07/18/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Bad Words Edition (07.07.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

I, personally, choose to believe that we are all capable of being decent human beings at any time, and that corporations which are smart enough to make a serious impact on the world around us are also smart enough to not intentionally sabotage their own efforts, products, or customers. I also realize that people are jerks to each other for little or no reason a lot of the time, and that corporations can and will choose short-term gains over long-term profits and security almost every single time. You can imagine what this does to my temperament, something which is on full display in this week’s podcast, as last week’s relatively bad news free status is drastically reversed.

Some good news does make it under the wire, Crysis is coming to consoles, CCP decides that screwing their Eve Online customers isn’t such a good idea, the Extra Credits drive to help their artist keep making art was a success beyond their wildest expectations, and I have new hope for a good video game movie as details for a Mass Effect film surface with a pretty decent writer and production company attached to the project. On the bad news front, Team Fortress 2 players are determined to show new players on the free-to-play accounts that they’re not welcome around these parts, and EA continues their charge to be more hated than Activision. Please, put the little ones in the other room and then Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 33 (07/07/11)