Pockie Ninja!

So I was bored yesterday and decided to try out a new game to sustain my boredom. I came across Pockie Ninja, a 3D anime themed browser MMORPG with elements from Naruto and Bleach, and decided to give it a try. Now I’ve seen ads for this game many times in the past months but never had the time to try it out. After 20 min of gameplay, I was hooked. This will be my first 2day impression on this game.

To be brief, the game revolves around questing and battling. The concept is extremely simple. NPCs give you a quest; you complete it and receive your rewards. They vary in content, but in the end, they’re mostly about meeting another NPC in another territory or kill a certain amount of monsters. There are quite a lot of quests in the beginning of the game and in the later stages there won’t be as many. These quests have a teleport feature which basically teleports you to the destination you need to go without having to manually do it. This simplifies gameplay a lot. There are also daily quests that change with every passing hour.

One part of the gameplay that I do not enjoy as much are the battles. You can equip your character with equips and skills but you cannot control them. Instead, you just watch an automated battle sequence between the two fighters. My feelings about this system are mixed as I do want to control my character, but sometimes killing monster do get repetitive and I’d rather just let the system do the killing. There isn’t a certain amount of skills you can unlock in this game. Instead, you have the chance to access all of the available skills. You learn a new skill randomly (I think) every time you level up. You can build your own skill set for your battles and this allows for more varieties of strategy. The battle animations are very smooth and I love them.

An interesting thing I found about this game is the fact that you don’t have a set class. This means you can change your class whenever you feel like it. Your class is determined by the your costume. Therefore, if you wear naruto’s costume, you will be naruto etc. Different classes provide different attack bonuses. Another interesting thing is the synthesizing system. Basically, it allows you to combine up to three items to create a new item. There are other systems such as the enhancement and refinement system but the synthesizing system really allows you to have fun. Many items in the NPC shops will be useless later on in the game therefore the synthesizing system allows for new combinations of items. A lot of the character classes can be made through synthesizing too.  There is also a trade system which allows the player to trade items among other players.

As stated earlier, the battle system is automated therefore there really isn’t much depth in the arena but it’s still fun to build your own skill set and try to overwhelm your opponent. One thing I love about this game is how much free stuff the game gives you. There are “Gift Coupons” in the game which substitutes for gold (currency bought with real life money). Up till lv 23, I have received around 500 of these coupons. Normally, 200 gold is 10$ in real life therefore not bad! The pricing for gold is mediocre to me. For a simple browser game, it’s not really worth my 10$ for only 200 gold but hey no complaints. If you’re looking for a simply relaxing browser based game with certain MMORPG features in it, I do suggest you try this game out. If you want to just greet me in game, my name is JYall in channel 2. gg

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Facebook : The new gaming platform

Facebook. The murderous social network. Millions have sold their soul to the devil. What do they get in return? Identity theft, information leakage, viruses, addiction… What’s next in the arsenal of moves facebook has taken? Answer: Gaming.

Facebook holds a variety of browser-based titles for users to try out. One of the biggest game creators on facebook, Zynga, has no-doubt revolutionized facebook gaming. One of their games, Farmville, has already surpassed over 80 million users! God damnit, that’s more than World of Warcraft users. World of Warcraft has around 15 million users and is considered the “king” of online MMORPG gaming even up to today. Instead, millions of people prefer a farming game over an intense and epic virtual life adventure. Why is that? Because of many reasons actually.

First is interaction. Facebook’s gaming system bases itself on interaction between people and friends. If you were to choose between playing a game with a friend and play by yourself, which would you choose? It is natural for people to want to play a game together, which proves why these games surpass online MMORPGs such as WoW. People know each other on facebook. Which brings me to my next point.

Second is attraction. When someone plays a new game on facebook, their friends will know about their activity and will want to try out the game as well. As explained above, people want to play games with people they know. Once they start playing with their friends, more people will know about their activity and they would want to try the game out as well. This can be known as a virus or a plague. It won’t stop until everyone has been introduced to it. Some will leave because they see no point to the game. And some will love the game and continue playing.

Thirdly, because the game never ends. Like any online MMORPG, there is always something to do in the persistent world of your character. This is no different for facebook games such as Farmville. (You will ALWAYS have stuff plant and harvest) Thus, it is impossible to actually beat the game therefore this keeps players hooked until they have pleased their gaming pleasure, or it may even keep them hooked forever.

The question lies here: is facebook the new revolutionary platform for gaming? My answer is yes. Why so? BECAUSE THE GAME DEVELOPPERS MAKE SO MUCH GODDAMN MONEY. These games are actually so overpriced it sickens me. Buying a virtual house and a few virtual accessories costs how much? That’s right, probably around 100$. And people DO pay for these games. There will ALWAYS be people who will want that shiny new house in Farmville. Imagine 80 million players each paying 100$. Companies like Zynga have already made good money and people are always playing. So why stop?

So now, what do you think. Is facebook indeed the new platform for online gaming?

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Reviewing Philosophy

Yes folks, an update. We do apologize for the lack of commitment on Indexed for the past 2 months (“Whaa” it’s been that long?). We do try our best to stay committed and release new posts but time has really been rare for the crew. No, we’re not dead. We’ve just been busy(REALLY BUSY) as of late. Now, on topic: Today, this post will describe how I review games, products, etc. So I guess this is my “reviewing philosophy”. To me, to review something is to show its’ good and bad qualities. I try to not be as biased as possible. (I wouldn’t say that I’m unbiased as I don’t believe there is an unbiased person) The point of a review is to let others know about the good and bad things but not to make a decision for them. I try to let people know about the positives and negatives and let them decide to see if the product really is for him/her. Another thing I don’t enjoy doing is giving a number rating. Like I said, I try not to give my opinion too much. Rating a product based on numbers is essentially rating the product with your own opinion, because you’re grading it as you see fit. Finally, at the end of my review, I like to add a small section where I restate what is good and bad about the product I reviewed. That’s really all I have to my reviewing philosophy…for now anyways.

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Reviewing GTA IV

The Grand Theft Auto series has evolved greatly over the past years. From the the simple, yet fun GTA I to the action packed Grand Theft Auto IV, the series has won the hearts of many people. I personally LOVE these games just because you can pretty much do anything you wish in the game. Whether it’s stealing cars, driving helicopters, doing crazy car stunts, the possibilities are almost endless. Today I will be reviewing GTA IV. (I might review the expansion packs to this game on the other consoles later on but for now, I want to stick to reviewing games that are PC related)

Campaign and gameplay:

You play as Niko Bellic, an Eastern European who goes to Liberty City to start a new life. His cousin, Roman, presents various problem for Niko. You will be killing and enforcing in missions and sometimes have to option of choosing the outcome of a mission. An example is sparing the life of someone you’re about to kill. Your decisions have different consequences in the later parts of the game. The length of campaign mode ranges from 60-100 hours of gameplay, including all side missions. There are many cinematic cutscenes that are nicely presented and are no doubt fun to watch. Niko has many abilities in the game, something the previous games lacked, such as scaling fences and taking cover behind objects. Covering behind objects makes gameplay so much easier. You’re able to just until enemies are reloading and pop up and shoot them down. (However, be aware that you may cover somewhere that you don’t want to.) There’s also the auto targeting system where you don’t even have to aim manually. You can just aim and the cursor will automatically point to an enemy. The police chasedowns have also been remade. Whenever you get a wanted level, police cars will start to chase you and you need to get out of a search area and waiting a few seconds to lose your wanted level. These features redefine gameplay in a more simplified and realistic way. Overall, the campaign mode features interesting characters and a good storyline. Niko’s new abilities add to an enjoyable gameplay experience. However, some players may not like these features as it does make gameplay more realistic but less “fun”. In previous GTA games, your character could do crazy stunts that you won’t be able to do in GTA IV. Driving a car in GTA IV may not be as fun as it might have been in the previous series. Players may miss the fun aspect of the game that made the series so popular in the first place.

Multiplayer:

Multiplayer wasn’t needed to make this game good but it is a nice feature. There are plenty of game modes to play with other people such as Race and Team Deathmatch. Game rooms can be customized. You have the option of adding features, such as friendly fire, different weapon sets and more. There are rarely any connection issues. Lagging issues are minimal in multiplayer. I really don’t know what else to say for multiplayer (haha it seems I never have anything to say for online play for any games i review).

Graphics:

They’re beautiful. Absolutely stunning. Of course, if you play this game on a PC, you do need high specs to be able to play at the max settings.  If you don’t have relatively high settings, then you’d probably not wanna play on max and may be disappointing as the graphics do “shine” a lot in this game.  Graphics are realistic. (It seems as though everything about this game is realistic :P) The characters, objects etc are well cropped and rendered. The environments are very nicely defined. There is a lot of detail around you. The edges, colours etc all add to provide a vivid feeling and atmosphere of Liberty City. This adds to the overall feel of the city and how busy it is.

Persistent World:

We all love GTA because of its’ gigantic virtual world to explore. Even if it’s a virtual world, it seems and feels like reality. The virtual world truly defines what a “persistence world” should be. The graphics are great. Textures and details look great in this game. They have been enhanced many times compared to the previous GTA titles. Liberty City is filled with different gangs in different neighborhoods. Richer neighborhoods will have more security and richer citizens. Poor neighborhoods will have more criminals and homeless people. People will act like they will in real life. They’ll help people in need or run to find shelter under bad weather conditions. It feels like Liberty City is alive and the citizens carry on with their lives like in real life. There is much to do. You can race with others, kill anyone you please, steal cars, blow up cars, and much much much much MUCH more. The radio features a variety of songs to listen to and my personal favourite is the internet. You can so much on the internet, such as looking for a girl and she might date you if you likes you. Socializing is also a great addition in GTA IV. You can socialize with your friends and hang out with them in bars, go bowling and more. This just adds a realistic aspect to the game. (Did I forget to mention you also have a cell phone where you can call people, receive text messages and more?) The AI’s intelligence ranges from a variety of different levels and makes the game great. The enemy’s skill level can range differently, depending if they’re just a newbie killer, or a professional. The driving system has been greatly redefined in this game. As I mentioned early, driving may not be as fun as it was in the previous GTA games. Different cars have different attributes. So a race car may be easy to drift with and a truck will be less balanced when driving. When you crash your car into a wall, your character will fly outside of the car, showing you the physics system in this game. But this realistic aspect is not liked by everyone and may annoy people more.

Goods: Good storyline, interesting characters, interesting combat system and police chasedowns, good range of new abilities, fun multiplayer, persistent world, realistic world, realistic physics system, beautiful graphics

Bads: combat system may be sloppy at times, gameplay may be too realistic

Conclusion: GTA IV is a great instalment in the GTA series. Your character is faced with an interesting storyline and filled with an entourage of interesting friends(or foes). The new combat system and police chasedowns are redefined and make gameplay easier and more interesting. Multiplayer has a variety of game modes for you to try out and is plenty fun. The real aspect of this game that shines is the freedom given to the user, allowing him/her to do almost whatever he/she desires. There is so much to do in this game that you may get distracted from concentrating on your missions. Be aware however you might not like the realistic aspect of the game compared to the previous games in this series. But other than that, the game is plenty fun and is a great installment. Worth your time and money? Definitely

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D-Link DUB-H7 USB 2.0 Hub Review

I don’t know about you, but for me, four inconveniently positioned USB ports on the sides of my laptop just aren’t enough. I’ve been looking for ages for a USB hub that wasn’t your average $ 59.99 HP 4-port clunk of ridiculously shiny plastic. I needed something heavy duty — and cheap, so here I am with a D-Link DUB-H7 USB 2.0 Hub.

The Good: 7 ports, low profile, externally powered, inexpensive, individual indicator lights, nice long cables.

The Bad: Not capable of powering USB devices  solely from a power socket, all 7 ports downgrade to USB 1.0 if a 1.0 device is plugged into any of the ports.

Annoyances: The individual indicators serve no purpose other than to notify you if a port shorts out.

Overview: I would say that this hub was well worth the $30.00 I paid for it. While a USB hub isn’t a very consequential purchase, I took it very seriously. I was happy that it was a serious, no-messing-around hub that did it’s job and no more. There were no bells or whistles, and that was reflected in the price. It is compact and tough. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked it off my desk. I did try to use it as a converter to charge USB devices from my wall, but that didn’t work for some reason. It has with other lesser hubs. If I plug it into the wall a swell as into my computer, all the lights will light up green. The only way I can get one to change is if I manage to short it out, then that individual light will turn red. They are essentially useless. The biggest problem I encountered with this hub was that if I plug a USB 1.0 device in it, all the ports seem to be downgraded to USB 1.0 speeds. This really isn’t as big a deal as it sounds, I don’t even think anyone has any of those anymore. You wouldn’t have noticed it I hadn’t just told you. Overall, This hub is delightfully average. It does its what I need it to well and no more. I’m sure there are better hubs out there, but not for that price.

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