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Eternity Warriors 3 review

eternity00 Eternity Warriors 3 published by Glu Mobile. The third installation in the row, Eternity Warrior 3 is a third-person action-RPG set in a fictional land called Northern Udar. The ambition of the game is to provide a viable and enjoyable alternative to Diablo like games on mobile. Let’s see how Glu manages to make this ambition come true. Eternity Warriors 3 is an RPG, as mentioned above, an action-adventure game, where the fate of the realms lies on our shoulders. Right at the beginning players have the option to choose from three different classes: Warrior, Monk and Mage. To be precise, the Mage isn’t available right at the beginning; it must be unlocked with one of the other characters at a certain point in the game. But the generic characteristics of these games are visible. Providing two melee DPS classes and a ranged DPS is really not out of ordinary. The game dynamics work surprisingly well. The third-person view provides a wide range of visibility, the controls work fine too. The virtual D-pad on the left could be a little bit more sensitive. On the right side, there is one Attack button and four buttons for special attacks and defense. It is a shame these buttons are fixed, so there is no option to rearrange them. The entire interface is above average. Gladewine is now hyperdroid, please visit our new site HERE

Daily bonus is a good way  to earn useful things.

Daily bonus is a good way to earn useful things.

The graphics and sounds are on a very high level. The maps and texture are really detailed; animations and other special effects are well done too. The best way to experience this is during the boss battles, where the camera and view of field is focused on the character. Some glitches are present thou. Sometimes animations are missing, sometimes the sound isn’t playing. But the experience is still enjoyable. The storyline is pretty long too. The whole map is huge, and although the story follows a linear path, the levels can be played through numerous times. Side quests often send us back to already cleared levels to go through several times to finish the objective. It is necessary to do these missions because each level requires a higher GS – Gearscore. It is possible to enter a level with much higher GS, but you won’t last too long against the foes. The game provides a wide range of different maps and enemies, starting with skeletons trough werewolves to other fictional beings. The difficulty of the AI varies with each type of enemy and depends on the GS of the character, but I think they are challenging enough. Especially the Boss battles will be frustratingly difficult, because the bosses require different tactics and ways to kill them. Time is of the essence, because good timing might save your life. There are other different game modes, like the Endless Mode, which a horde mode where our goal is to survive waves of enemies. If it wasn’t hard enough, our time is limited, so killing the enemies quickly is not only good, but necessary. After every 5th round, we can collect our loot and we have two options: leave with the loot, or continue risking what we already looted. After every 10th wave, our loot won’t be lost. Endless mode requires Ship Tokens, which regenerate with time, or they are for sale in the market as IAPs. Endless Mode provides the most abundant loot. So it is worth trying it. Gladewine is now hyperdroid, please visit our new site HERE

Buying Gems in IAPs can be expensive.

Buying Gems in IAPs can be expensive.

The another one is the Arena, which is a Real-time multiplayer PvP. This mode was added in the most recent update, but I must admit after playing with it for an hour that it is one of the best multiplayer modes on Android. Of course it still need some tweaks and optimizations, but Glu Mobile done a very good job. The 1vs1 battles are well balanced, the game tries to find players with the same lvl and GS to fight each other. Only downside is the different classes, where one class might be more powerful than the other ones. Eternity Warriors 3 is an RPG, it has all the perks RPGs have. Characters must earn XP to level-up. With every lvl-up new spells and abilities are unlocked, or the unlocked ones get more powerful. The set of abilities varies with each class, the Warrior has stronger melee attacks while the Mage stronger ranged attacks. It is advised to upgrade every ability to their available maximum for better results. In this game not just the abilities, but the gear has an important role in success.  The gear consists of weapons and armor (head, torso, legs, amulets, rings etc.). Each piece of gear has GS, which is a value calculated from the attributes (HP, defense, attack power, etc.). Every piece can be upgraded in a way similar to Enchanting (from World of Warcraft) but more simplified. It is called Fusion, where other armors are broken down and made into the existing one. The result is a more powerful piece of gear with better attributes and higher GS. Another way to improve the gear is via Runes. It is similar to Jewelcrafting (WoW). Drill a hole in anything and you can insert a Rune, making that armor or weapon stronger. The inventory is where the above mentioned operations are done. Here players can find additional information and attributes of their characters. The only downside of the inventory is its size, which could be bigger. Of course there is the option to buy a larger bag via IAPs. But be careful, once the bad is full, the game won’t let you go on missions. So sell or fuse those unnecessary items you don’t need. Gladewine is now hyperdroid, please visit our new site HERE

The map is huge and provides lots of missions.

The map is huge and provides lots of missions.

The game is following the free-to-play business model with IAPs, which is a standard in mobile gaming nowadays. The bad thing is that IAPs are present, but the good thing is that they are not really necessary. The game is well balanced, so the difficulty won’t be a cause to spend real money. The premium currency is the Gems, for which the players can buy Potions and other things like Tokens. A really interesting concept is the Offerings, which basically is a lottery for gear. Tokens are required to enter which can be earned from missions or bought for Gems and provide different sets of gear, potions, runes or even Coins (normal in-game currency). In Eternity Warriors 3 social aspects are present too. The starting town is a moderate hub for players, where they can interact with each other in a limited way. Inspecting other player’s gear, live chat or even guilds can be accessed. It is good to have these options, but on the other hand, it is still not on par with MMOs on PCs. The whole social interaction still needs work. And the chat is rather buggy on my phone, the keyboard doesn’t show up (Xperia keyboard). But this might be an issue only on certain phones. The other glitch I had to face was while taking screenshots, my phone would stuck and most of the time only a restart helped. To sum up, Eternity Warriors 3 is a really good game in terms of mobile gaming, but is still nowhere to games like Diablo 3 of World of Warcraft on PC. The whole idea is to provide alternatives on handheld gadgets, and it is partly successful but still not perfect. But the game can be considered one of the best in its category; the developers constantly work on updates and upgrades, which is another positive thing to mention. Bug fixes are on their way too along with new game modes and new story missions. Pros:

  • Good graphics, sounds and effects
  • Lengthy storyline
  • Game modes: story, endless, arena
  • Real-time PvP multiplayer
  • Free-to-play and balanced IAPs
  • One of the best in its category
  • Frequent updates, upgrades

Cons:

  • Generic concept
  • Glitches, bugs
  • Can’t compete with PC titles

Recommended for: Adventure RPG fans, who like playing these games on their hand-held devices. Rating: 82/100 en_generic_rgb_wo_45     Gladewine is now hyperdroid, please visit our new site HERE

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Mass Effect Infiltrator review

Mass Effect Infiltrator published by EA Games but developed by IronMonkey Studios. A third-person shooter with advanced hybrid controls, moderate length storyline, superb graphics and RPG elements, just like the other games of the Mass Effect franchise. Considering the fact that this game is more than 2 years old, is still alive and kicking and only newer titles can compete with it. But the age has its price, as this game suffers the fate of other games from big publishers, like EA.

Let’s start with the storyline. The protagonist in our case is a Cerberus agent, Radall Ezno, who goes rogue after the only close person to him, Inali, goes missing at the Cerberus base called The Barn. The director of this base turns to extreme procedures and betrays Randall, who has to fight through the station to save Inali and a mysterious Volus, who helps him. The storyline is rather B category, but considering this was meant as a companion app to Mass Effect 3, the game itself is still better than most games.

ME Infiltrator has simple and intuitive controls, although it takes some time getting used to it. Dual virtual d-pad to movement and camera combined with swipe and tap actions while in cover and aiming. The whole cover-based system is comparable to other Mass Effect games, so for ME veterans it will be familiar. The use of biotic abilities or the Cloak ability is similar too, but simplified comparably to handheld uses.

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This game is partly an RPG, because RPG and Mass Effect belong to each other. In this game, there is a limited amount of weaponry and armors, but everything is upgradeable with the in-app currency and that gives the items long lifetime. This game features IAPs, but there is no reason to spend real money on items, the difficulty wouldn’t be a problem even for newbies. The only difficulties might be at the boss fights, which are more challenging.

The graphics of ME Infiltrator are spectacular, only the newest titles offer nicer environments and effects. The sounds and voice-acting is brilliant, there must have been put enough effort into this. Even some banter can be heard, what can be considered one of the trademarks of Mass Effect. The only new additions in this game are the Style Points. These basically are the points earned by killing the opponent with a combination of different abilities and weapons. At the end of the missions, the way it way carried out is evaluated and based on it stars are given. Three stars in three categories – style, time and health – give the Veteran title, which is the best.

The settings offer various options, starting with volume settings, different languages, subtitles, tap to aim toggle, tutorials and so on. There is an Origin connection tool too. Playing ME Infiltrator provides some Assets to help in the fight, and the Galaxy At War map is shared between devices and games. Connections like this between AAA titles and their companion apps are only appearing now with the next generation of consoles.

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But this game is far from perfect. One of the main flaws is that it force-closes very often. This might be a problem with my device too, but I have read similar experiences in the comments. I could even test it on my another device, because that isn’t supported, which is the second greatest weakness of this app – lack of compatibility. Many users complain that after downloading the app, it says that their devices, even high-end flagship devices are not compatible. This is a shame, but explainable by the publisher. EA and other big names tend not to support their older creations in favor of newer products. And the price is still high, compared to the length of the storyline and the flaws, I don’t really understand why this game still costs this much.

Mass Effect Infiltrator might not be a good game if it came out on consoles, but on mobile devices it is considered one of the best, especially in the third-person genre where it still competes with newer games. But what matters is that this game has the atmosphere that other Mass Effect games can create, even if in a limited capacity. Could be a better game if not the flaws, like limited compatibility, bugs and crash issues. And did I mention the outrageously high price? I recommend waiting for a sale. There are often on the Play Store.

Pros:

  • Excellent graphics, sounds and voice-acting
  • The Mass Effect atmosphere
  • Intuitive and good controls
  • Moderate difficulty, challenging boss fights
  • Galaxy at War assets, connection with ME3

Cons:

  • Short and linear storyline
  • Bugs, crashes
  • Incompatibility
  • High price
  • No cloud save support

Recommended for: For Mass Effect facts this is a must-have, but other casual gamers will find this game as good fun. The several hours long story might seem short, and therefore I recommend buying this game while it is for sale.

Rating: 70/100

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Galactic Phantasy Prelude review

Galactic Phantasy Prelude published by Moonfish Software. When I first heard about this game, I thought Android is not ready for a true sci-fi action-rpg. I’ve never been so wrong. Galactic Phantasy Prelude, from now referred only as GPP is simply amazing. It’s an rpg where you take the role of a captain on a pirate ship, doing missions, attacking other pirate ships or raiding transport ships for goods.

GPP starts with James and Matt, two orphans who had just stolen a ship and are escaping the orphanage where they belong. The story continues as the crew aims to be the most feared and respected pirates in the galaxy. I must admit the story isn’t the strongest sides of this game, but it is crucial to the dynamics. With every single part of the storyline, you advance further from one solar system to another, where the opponents will be more difficult to defeat and where things cost more.

GPP has astonishing graphics. Not the best I’ve seen on Android, but still spectacular. The spaceships, drones, star-ports and other facilities are well built; the textures of the background are still bearable although the lower resolution. There is a certain give and take there. And the graphics are adjustable; you can chose from 5 settings from best to fastest.

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Becoming a space pirate have never been this easy

Becoming a space pirate have never been this easy

But what made me love this game is the dynamics. The way you can control your spaceship is amazing. I prefer the on-screen joystick with normal (not inverted) y-axis. Alternatively you can use the accelerometer, but it needs some time to get used to it. The joystick is on the left side (in galaxy mode there is the auto toggle and Fleet/Inventory button too), on the right side are other buttons: in galaxy view, there is the Speed-up button and the Pirate toggle and when close to a planet 2 options appear, Dock and Wander. During combat, the attack buttons are there and special buttons which activate special powers depending on the accessories called Supports you’ve equipped your ship with.

Other buttons are the Options, Log, Hints, Map and Mission. The options opens the game settings, like controls, music or display quality. Log covers your storyline missions, Hints give useful tooltips for beginners, Missions open up the current side-mission and Map is self-explanatory. I can tell you, the Map button will be most frequently used. The only downside I can mention is the only 2 axis control. I would really appreciate an additional z-axis, so I can rotate my ships one more way, like in PC/console games.

GPP is a complex game, which features a main galaxy view (something like in Mass Effect), where you will drive your ship around solar systems, driving to different planets to dock there or to acquire missions, but most of the time it will be running away enemy pirates or the opposite, chasing after your targets. The speed boost will come in handy avoiding the raiders or to catch up with some other ships. Sometimes it is easier to just boost to the next stargate and jump to a different system than entering battle and pressing the Escape button and to wait 10 seconds.

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Wandering in orbit of planets provides awe-dropping views.

Wandering in orbit of planets provides jaw-dropping views.

The fleet you drive consists of a flagship and a wingman. At the beginning there is only one ship, a Frigate, but later on you will be able to buy new ones in Shipyards. There are several types of ships; from the smallest to biggest are Frigate (FG), Destroyer (DS), Cruiser (CS), Battleship (BS), Battlecruiser (BC) and Transport (TS). These ships all except the TS can carry weapons: missiles or lasers. There are several types of each with different functions like draining energy or stun.

The ships have major and minor attributes, the major are Structure Points (like health), Energy for using abilities and if the Part is equipped, Defense Matrix (shields), Cargo Hold capacity and CPU – energy capacity of the ships. Other attributes are the attack, CPU usage, aiming angle, different recharge times, and battle/wander speed and so on. The list is long, sometimes the numbers are overwhelming, but once mastered won’t cause any headaches.

The ships can be upgraded by equipping different Weapons, Supports or Parts. Every ship has different capacity to equip these. Smaller ships will have 1 weapon slot, 1 support and 3-4 parts slots, bigger ships will have up to 2-3-8. The most important thing is to find the best CPU usage/performance ratio, and to find the best crew with the highest points in the targeted field.

The galaxy is huge, several discoverable solar systems with planets, new challenges and opportunities.

The galaxy is huge, several discoverable solar systems with planets, new challenges and opportunities.

The inventory has its flaws too. First of all is the lack of the option to compare the equipped item with the one I currently view in the inventory or is a possible reward for a mission. The other thing is the inability to rearrange the inventory. This can be really frustrating for people who like order and to logically arrange their things. And the last thing is the low size of the inventory: 16 slots are enough for weapons and for supports, but for parts, it isn’t. Of course there is the option to double the size for Credits (in-game premium currency).

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Major roles have planets. In orbit of each planet are different facilities. All the facilities have levels, from 1 to 5 which can be raised by donating money, because higher level provides higher quality services. Star-ports and Markest are at every planet, but Mining Plants, Info Centers and Shipyards are scattered across the planets. Star-ports are where you can dock your fleet to manipulate with it: swapping ships, equipping accessories and crew members, buying accessories and recruiting crew members, repairing damaged ships. Market is where you can buy and sell different goods. The best way to earn money is to buy cheap stuff at one planet and sell it at another for higher price. Finding Golden Routes provide extremely high income percentage.

Info Centers serve as the hub for side-missions, Shipyards are the place to buy and sell ships while in Mining Plants you buy the materials needed for ships. There are several types of side-missions; some are easier, other harder. The easier are the “follow target” missions, the harder are the “transport-goods” missions and the hardest are the “destroy” missions. On higher levels these are combined in one mission and can spread across several systems.

Traveling between planets, chasing traders and avoiding pirates, this is the wild-west in space.

Traveling between planets, chasing traders and avoiding pirates, the wild-west of space.

Ships can be bought in Shipyards for money and for materials acquired from mining plants (iron, copper, crude oil…). The hardest thing in building ships is to acquire the blueprints, which can be bought for Credits or are dropped by destroyed enemy ships. The drop-rate is various and can be really frustrating to find the wanted blueprint.

The game uses a free-to-play with IAPs business model, which is in my opinion well balanced toward the free-to-play side. The difficulty of the game is decent, but it is possible to beat the game entirely without paying for stuff with real money. There are some frustrating things, like the above mentioned inventory upgrade, but other things like Credits or the Packages are not necessary. Of course the Packages provide the best ships in the game with additional pocket money, but it really serves only for enthusiasts or for impatient people.

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The other irritating things are the bugs. Sometimes the game freezes at different points or some items cannot be equipped or sometimes. Every time I exit the game with full Structure Points and after that I open it again, a slight portion of my SP is missing for no apparent reasons. But the developers are working hard to remedy the problems with every update.

Galactic Phantasy Prelude is also connected with Google Play services, so after a login with Google+ account you have the ability to view your achievements and compare them with friends. Additional hints, tips and ticks can be found here.

[EDIT 14.05.2014] GPP has been updated to version 1.9.0 (and currently 1.9.2) which brings the option to have another wingman (3 ships in the flotilla), new spaceships and crewmen have been added and other tweaks and improvements have been implemented.

Pros:

  • Graphics, music and dynamics
  • Open-world
  • Enjoyable space battles
  • Huge variety of ships, customizability
  • Free-to-play
  • Well balanced difficulty, AI
  • Causes major addiction

Cons:

  • Weak main story
  • Irritating environment of the Inventory
  • Repetitive over time
  • Bugs

Recommended for: Sci-fi fans and for patient people, who like to earn things instead of buying them.

Rating: 89/100

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I,Gladiator review

gladiator00 I, Gladiator published by Burlington Trading Ltd. and created by Steel Monkeys studio.  A long time ago, in the ancient Roman Empire, gladiator battles were one of the most successful and well established forms of entertainment. “Panem et circenses” – bread and circuses for the people, says the phrase. But times are changing and new forms of entertainment emerge, for example mobile devices capable of handling cutting-edge 3D games. So the ancient times could be recreated and experienced again in this form. I, Gladiator doesn’t just bring nice graphics, good soundtrack and story, but it has something that most of the current games lack: atmosphere. Of course this games has its flaws too, but more about them later.

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The setting is familiar, ancient Roman Empire, arena, gladiators, swords, lions. You control a gladiator from third person view, using touch controls (no gamepad support yet) and our mission is to kill the other gladiators on a last man standing principle. The story is simple: you die and on your way to the underworld a roman god resurrects you.  The only drawback is that you have to climb up from the absolute zero. The story is being told in nice cartoonish animations and voiced by professional voice-actors in native Latin. The cartoonish graphics remain for the entire game, which makes this game really outstanding. And the soundtrack is brilliant too. It is a combination of heavy metal and war drums and vocals. It fits the game very well. All these combined produces a believable atmosphere and lots of fun.

Cartoonish design, native Latin language and ancient gods.

Cartoonish design, native Latin language and ancient gods.

The controls are simple: the right side of the display functions as the controls. One main button on the left which has multiple functions depending in what stance we are: while not in combat, pressing it turns sprint on, in combat it is used for defense. Sometimes this simplicity is a disadvantage because you can get easily confused. You want to sprint but your character gets into defensive stance instead. During combat the right side (more precisely the majority of the screen except the defense button) is used to make attacking moves. Swiping the screen in different directions makes the gladiator swing its sword or spear in that direction. You can combine a few of these moves making combos, but it takes some time to master them. And it seems that the interface leaves much to be desired when it comes to sensibility and accuracy. But this issue can be device specific and easily solved.

The next thing is the AI and difficulty. This game is hard and takes time getting used to the game mechanics. The AI is pretty good; the enemy uses different tactics, traps and the environment. And the different types of enemies behave differently, each according to its role and equipment. The layouts of the maps are feasible too. The environment can be used to our advantage but it can also kill us. Hunting traps, fire traps, blade traps or sharp spikes are all around the map.

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Tooltips are there when you need them, but that swiping thing doesn't work all the time

Tooltips are there when you need them, but that swiping thing doesn’t work all the time

I, Gladiator follows a strict road when it comes to character customization. Armor, equipment, weapons and shields can be acquired in a workshop for different amounts of money. More powerful weapons cost more denarius (the normal in-game currency), and the game subtly suggests that we need to purchase them to be able to continue our story as the opponents get better and better with every mission. Some stuff require the premium currency, gold, which is not easy to earn normally. IAPs are present, everyone can purchase gold for real money.

This game is an RPG, this means that our character earns experience and every time we hit a cap we level up. With every level we earn skill points we can invest into four major fields: Health, Stamina, Attack and Defence. Every field seems important in terms of usability; more Stamina means we have more power to launch attacks and so on.

The multiplayer is one of the best I've ever seen on mobile

The multiplayer is one of the best I’ve ever seen on mobile

I, Gladiator has multiplayer too, which is another thing other games lack. And not just it has multiplayer, it is awesome. There is the T-based mode where you compete against another player’s score. There are two options, attacker of defender. In both games there is a central totem which has hit points and based on your role you have to defend it or attack it. The goal is to beat your opponent’s goal. In real-time multiplayer the free-for-all scenario is in effect, where our goal is to kill as many opponents as we can and to stay alive. The good thing about the multiplayer is it is cross-platform, so Android players can play against iOS gamers, and the small logos are visible next to the names in the scores table. I encountered only a few bugs and once a little lag, but overall the multiplayer is smooth and flawless. At least for the technical side, because of the IAP business model, players who invest more into their character have the advantage and this makes the game imbalanced. It’s a shame that skills doesn’t matter as much as money.

To sum up, I, Gladiator is a good and enjoyable game with a few flaws and untapped potentials. In my opinion the IAP business model is the main reason and the not so player friendly controls. But despite of the flaws the game is a masterpiece thanks to the nice storyline, good AI and the atmosphere.

Pros:

  • Originality, atmosphere
  • Design – cartoonish graphics, animations
  • Soundtrack, music and other sounds
  • Above average story
  • Sophisticated AI
  • Multiplayer
  • New Free-to-play version (2nd Google Play link)

Cons:

  • Difficulty, sometimes imbalanced opponents
  • Interface could have better accuracy and sensibility
  • IAPs, players who pay real money get advantage

Recommended for: Fans of ancient European civilizations, especially for those who like arenas and fighting or for those  adventurers who like challenges.

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Rating: 70/100

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The 10 best Mass Effect DLCs

There is Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Halo as the greatest sci-fi franchises in the world. And there is Mass Effect. The latest but very successful series reshaped the gaming world. Mass Effect is about the choices and consequences the player makes, one bad choice and whole civilizations fall. Probably this is the main reason for its success but it also means controversy.

The games, all three of them are complete and great, but there have always been things that the developers couldn’t put in the game because of various reasons (most likely the strict schedule) and  the only way to manage this issue is through DLCs, a.k.a. downloadable contents. Mass Effect has tons of them, some are good, some mediocre but the most are really great and make perfect addition to the already existing story and content. It is a shame that developers are forced to make games this way, and monetize additional content which could easily be part of the game if it was released a few months later. Or worse, releasing “day one” DLCs on the same day they release the “full” game (From Ashes) with content that was already meant to be part of the game. But that is for another debate.  I put together a list of my favorite DLCs based on the content, the good stuff they add to the games:

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Mass_Effect_2_Bekenstein

The view on Bekenstien from Donovan’s mansion

10. Overlord

The first entry on my list is the DLC called Overlord for Mass Effect 2. The DLC brings a new planet, four new assignments on it and the most important, the M-44 Hammerhead. It is an infantry fighting vehicle which hoovers above the ground and Shepard and his/her team uses it to explore and travel between locations (it is also included in the Firewalker DLC pack with additional assignments too). On this planet a terrifying experiment was taking place: a virtual intelligence hybrid was created and as it should be, this experiment had gone wrong.  Shepard has to battle with the Geth and stop the rampage of the VI hybrid for once and for all. The DLCs highlights are the spectacular views of the planet as we go through the vast fields or rivers of magma. The storyline also has a potential follow-up in Mass Effect 3, considering we make the right decision. Oh and don’t hurt the space cows.

9. Zaeed – The Price of Revenge

In this DLC for Mass Effect 2 we get the option to recruit an additional crew member, Zaeed Masani. He is a human mercenary with questionable morals and with a dark past, which will eventually catch up with him in his loyality mission. There he will face a huge moral question, which we (as Shepard) will help him to answer. The highlight of this DLC is the personal growth of this character. Our decisions matter in a certain degree, whether it be the end of Mass Effect 2 or whether we will see Zaeed in Mass Effect 3 (which I highly recommend).

8. Bring Down the Sky

This DLC was the first of two DLCs for Mass Effect. The story is simple: a terrorist group hijacks an asteroid and sends it on a collision course with Terra Nova (a human colony). The mission is to stop them. Sounds like a Die Hard movie, only that we have Shepard instead of Bruce Willis and the terrorists are aliens. A new kind of aliens first introduced to the series, the Batarians. They play a major role in Mass Effect 3 and we will meet them in Mass Effect 2 as well, but this is the historical firs moment we see them. The Batarians are the main competition for Humans in the colonizing and territorial races.

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Mass_Effect_2_Illium_by_droot1986

Illium – Nos Astra cityscape

7. Arrival

A vital and story focused DLC for Mass Effect 2, Arrival brings the arrival of the Reapers closer than ever before. Only Shepard can delay the arrival, but on this mission, he will be on his/her own, because first, Shepard has to infiltrate a Batarian prison and save a human scientist. The story continues and several story twists occur. In this DLC we will escape a Batarian prison, another prison using a remote controlled mech and we will blow up a Mass Relay! Not kidding. Oh and the heated conversation with Harbinger is really good. The new elements, like “soloing” with Shepard or the race against time as the destruction of the relay comes closer and closer really makes this DLC good, but for some people this DLC is completely unnecessary or redundant. But in my opinion this DLC makes sense even with the plot holes.

6. Kasumi – Stolen Memory

The second best DLC for Mass Effect 2. It brings one additional crew member, Kasumi Goto. She is a master thief, a master of disguise and illusion, she can turn invisible at wish and she is a very fun and well-made character. She also presumably stole the Mona Lisa… Shepard recruits her on the Citadel, but to earn her loyality, we have to complete her mission. And by her mission I mean we have to aid her in a heists. A very powerful and dangerous criminal has a very important thing in his vault, at least it is important to Kasumi. The main reason I love this DLC is because of its complexity: the first part of the mission is to explore the mansion, finding a way to gain access to the vault, and the second part is the escape, where we will be faced against dozens of angry guards and a mini boss-fight in the end. The view on the distant Bekenstein is simply jaw-dropping and the interior of the mansion is really inspiring. I really adore the architecture of the 23rd century.

5. From Ashes

The first DLC on my list for Mass Effect 3 is From Ashes. This DLC is controversial, because this one is the above mentioned “day one” DLC. Putting that aside, this one is really great, because we get one additional squadmate. And the best part is that this character is a living Prothean! A very sarcastic and rude Prothean, who will see the younger races as inferior and not really capable of winning the war against the Reapers. Javik as he calls himself will be a vital part of the game because of his character growth and because he will slowly learn to trust Shepard and the other crew members. He is a warrior, the “Shepard” of his time so he doesn’t have the knowledge everyone hoped for, but even without that we will get insights into the Prothean culture and history. Also the banter between Javik and the crew members are really great, don’t miss them!

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Wreckage on the surface of 2181 Disponia

4. Leviathan

Leviathan is another DLC for Mass Effect 3. Focuses on the mystery of the Reapers, where their origins are and why the cycles of exterminations exist. Shepard will have to investigate clues of extraordinary sightings, stories and other stuff. Once he/she will have to face hordes of Reapers, after that return to the Citadel to investigate where the next clue leads him/her. Finally the truth will emerge as Shepard with a submersible mech discovers what the Leviathan is. This is the really interesting part as a new mechanic never seen before will be introduced and we will get vital information on the Reapers.

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Shepard and Aria fighting the Adjutants on Omega

3. Omega

There are two capitals of the galaxy: the Citadel and Omega. One is the capital of the Galactic Council; the other is the hub of pirates and outlaws of the fringe systems. Major parts of Mass Effect 2 take place there and Omega makes a comeback in Mass Effect 3, sadly only in a DLC. But this DLC is no ordinary DLC. New enemies, new characters and cinematics. Sadly, the story isn’t the greatest, but this is easily compensated by the two temporary squad members. One is a Turian female mercenary, and the second is the Queen of underworld – Omega herself, Aria. A nearly thousand years old Asari with the powers and abilities of the Asari matriarchs, she is one of the strongest character to have around. Her biotic abilities are unmatched, only her charisma is more astonishing. Shepard’s and Aria’s goal is to take back Omega from the Cerberus who previously occupied Omega by luring Aria into a trap. In this DLC we will see the sides of Omega which we have never seen before, fight a new type of Reaper controlled by Cerberus and if Shepard is lucky (or a ruthless maniac) get a kiss from Aria.

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The Shadow Broker’s ship

2. Lair of the Shadow Broker

The DLC with the best story in the entire series places second on my list. Lair of the Shadow Broker is probably the best DLC for Mass Effect 2 and even beats most of the DLC for the third game. Shepard finally manages to catch up with Liara, one of the most beloved squadmates from the first game. She is not part of Shepard’s crew in the game and the developers felt the need to change this. They made it in a very nice fashioned way. The first part takes place on Illium, a terrific world on the edge of Council Space with futuristic architecture and cityscapes of Nos Astra (capital). Liara’s life is in danger, the Shadow Broker and his forces are after her and our job is to make sure they don’t get to her. When the tides turn, we will be after the Shadow Broker. The second part takes place on his ship on the spectacular planet Hagalaz. The ship hides in the atmosphere of the planet, following the setting sun. Other than the story the DLC brings additional content in the form of a new place after we kicked the former owner out of his ship. There Shepard will gain access to the vast pool of information the Shadow Broker had gained. It is a nice addition to the game for sure. And did I mention Shepard can rekindle his/her romance with Liara (or face the consequences if cheated on her)?

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Shepard and his squadmates on the Citadel

1. Citadel

The last entry on my top 10 list is Citadel, the final story DLC for Mass Effect 3. Shepard’s last and the best trip to the Citadel. This DLC is the best example of how much the developers at Bioware care about the community, about the fans. Although it doesn’t bring closure to the ending and the controversy it brought, but in my opinion it compensates us very well. There is so much additional content that I lost count. The story is surprisingly good as Shepard fights one of his greatest enemies on the Citadel. There are previously not seen places there which are now accessible. An unexpected journey through the wards, a casino and Anderson’s apartment as well as the Citadel archives will conclude to the fight on the Normandy SR-2. With so much humor and references to the previous games as the characters interact: Garrus will miss the conversations in the elevator, Shepard will face the fact everyone is tired of his line: “I should go” and that a toothbrush can save the day. Despite the fact that the story of the main mission is not the best, the whole as a bunch makes this DLC the one audience needed, but don’t know whether it deserved. The content makes the difference as we get a whole new area on the Citadel, new shops and new free time activities. We can go to the casino and play some gambling games, or we can go to the arena and fight there. It is a simulation of course, but it feels real. And the possibility of playing with our old squadmates makes it even better. Having Miranda, Grunt or even Kasumi against the Geth or the Collectors is really the best part of this DLC apart from the party in Shepard’s (Anderson’s) apartment in the end. That party is a large Goodbye, the last heaven before the hell, where we can forget for one night that the Reaper threat is upon us and our world might cease to exist. But that night, everyone is having fun. Squad members making fun of that Shepard can’t dance, or are setting up bobby traps, flirting and discussing everything possible. Citadel is the best DLC, nothing more, nothing less.

Other memorable DLCs:

  • Extended Cut (Mass Effect 3)

This DLC brings some closure to the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3 as the players finally see some of the consequences of their decisions. New cinematics, and some more conversation options in the final mission.

  • Pinnacle Station (Mass Effect)

This is the second DLC for Mass Effect. There are combat simulations, a few missions and a new residential area for Shepard.

  • Normandy Crash Site (Mass Effect 2)

This DLC brings one minor assignment for Shepard. The SSV Normandy’s crash site that is accessible to Shepard to explore and to take a few moments to remember the crew members that died during the battle.

  • Firewalker Pack (Mass Effect 2) 

Several assignments involving the M-44 Hammerhead mentioned earlier in the Overlord DLC. Not ground breaking content, but could be fun for several hours.

  • Genesis 1 & 2 (Mass Effect 2 / Mass Effect 3) 

For players who can’t import a character from a previous game makes it possible to make some major plot decisions which will have consequences in the story in the form of interactive comics. In Genesis 1 there are the main decisions made in the first game and in Genesis 2 the decisions from both the first and the second game.

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Rebellion pack characters

Mass Effect 3 has multiplayer and 5 main DLCs were released free of charge. The following list is in order starting with the best (in terms of quality and the overall content):

1. Retaliation

The best multiplayer DLC on the list, because it brings 16 new playable characters, new (old) enemies – Collectors, hazard versions of the maps and other things like weapons or modifications. Playing as a Volus or Vorcha is not a dream any more, it has come true.

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The Collectors from Retaliation DLC

2. Resurgence

Two new maps, six playable character (probably some of the best, like the Geth Hunter of Krogan Battlemaster) and the usual weapons and consumables update.

3. Earth

The battle goes to Earth with three new maps taking place there. The elite soldiers from the N7 Interplanetary Combatives Academy take up the fight with the Reapers. Six new characters, N7 Fury, Paladin or Shadow, they are about to deal massive damage.

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The N7 squad from Earth DLC

4. Rebellion

Two maps, six characters and minor new additional content. One of the new maps is my personal favorite (Firebase Goddess) which takes place on Thessia. Among the new characters are deserted ex-Cerberus operatives, Vorcha soldiers and Quarian specialists.

5.  Reckoning

The last one of the multiplayer DLCs. It doesn’t bring new maps, only six new and in my opinion completely unnecessary characters with a few new weapons. A Geth Juggernaut or Awakened Collector might sound fun, but the fact is that the DLC could bring so much more as the final multiplayer DLC but it doesn’t. This is not the right way to say goodbye.

The full list of Downloadable Content for the Mass Effect series can be found here.

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Real Racing 3 updated review

RR3v2_00Real Racing 3 has been out since February (2013) and it is still one of the best (if not the best) racing games for Android. The game has been updated constantly, the developers put enough time and work into new content and refined some core features, like physics or AI. Of course every update brings its own bugs and sometimes an update can make the game worse than before. One step forward, two steps backward…  Let’s see how Real Racing 3 looks after several main updates:

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The good:

New series: The amount of races now reaches more than 1200 events. This is a huge number, which means a lot of gameplay hours (hundreds) to race all of them.

New cars: Whole new manufacturers, like Mercedes and old good ones too now let you ride their cars, of course if you can. They cost money, time to deliver and a new addition: you need to unlock some of them by earning trophies from previous races.

New event type: Time Trial. You have one lap to make the best time you can with a rolling start. Then compare your time with players from all around the world and of course with your friends. Once you have a time and try your luck one more time, a “ghost” of your best lap will be present on the track. I encountered several glitches, but I will tell you about this later. A great addition is that already completed series will become incomplete again, which means you can earn R$ and gold by finishing the time trials of each car.

Improved AI: the artificial intelligence have been heavily modified, now they are tougher opponents and less likely to collide with you as I observed.  Of course in some events the AI is still imbalanced, but this is a story of its own.

Daily bonus. Every day the money you win on your first race will get doubled (starting with 10% bonus up to 100% in a few days, which if will remain once you race every day).

There are small but significant updates, like you can chose a car (will be marked with a key) and you can quickly jump to the series in which the marked car is. There is cloud save, other log-in options like Google+ or when you restart a race the countdown is shorter so you don’t waste much time. The repairs are completely remade, you don’t have to repair every damage one by one. Also there are some cars which can be bought for Gold, not just for R$. For a higher price of course…

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The bad:

More IAPs in the form of Gold. The developers are becoming more greedy as they force the players even more to spend real money on in-game currencies. In the updated version players have to pay even more Gold on new cars, to reduce waiting and repair time. And the amount of R$ people can get was reduced in a really fashioned way. Now there is a “clean race bonus”, which is the amount you get when you don’t scratch your car. Of course with the current AI this is impossible, no matter how carefully you race, there will be minor damages which will result in a decrease of the clean race bonus. The new cars: Buying a new car already costs player lot of money, but sometimes this is not enough. You need to upgrade your car to be good enough to compete with others, sometimes its only an option, but with the new PR rating of the cars, there are events which require a minimum PR rating. If your car doesn’t have the required rating, you can’t enter that event. But don’t worry, the latest cars have around 35 upgrades, compared to older cars, which had around 20. One good advice: only upgrade if it’s necessary, like earning a trophy, so you can unlock a better car. Don’t over-upgrade.

The AI. Although the AI have been improved, it is still aggressive and imbalanced. Once they are slow as hell, once they are out of reach. But if you encounter a race where the opponents will be the on the exact difficulty, you are going to enjoy it. They are aggressive, but more careful in the same time, although they now go off-road or when they catch up with you they try to overtake you. But still needs improvement.

The main menu. The new design looks good, but became less effective. The navigation became slower, the only good point is the quick jump button to your marked car. The new animations are unnecessary, I would appreciate a turn-off button in the settings. The loading time have increased too. What a shame.

Bugs: Various bug and glitches, like in Time Trial mode you can encounter a race against a Ghost, which will cut the track and will be unreachable. Or you can lose your daily progress even with cloud saving. Sometimes cloud save saved my day, but not always. Once the progress in the cloud was even more outdated and I lost more progress. This field need some improvements too.

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What is missing:

Real-time multiplayer. Google have already made available Play Services for achievements, leaderboards and real-time multiplayer for the developers, some of them already built into its games. It would be a really good addition for RR3 if players could compete with each other than in TSM. There could be co-op series against bots, or races where everyone is a living being. Don’t know how many players are the limit, but in Riptide GP2 four players don’t cause any problems.

A skirmish mode, where players could select the event types, tracks, number of laps, opponents and race with already unlocked cars they have in their garage. This combined with multiplayer, and RR3 will become legendary.

New series with new locations, from all around the world. I would personally like to race in Singapore GP at night, or Yas Marinas in Abu Dhabi. Some traditional tracks could come too, like Monte Carlo, Monza, Nürburgring (Nordschleife) or Hungaroring.

New cars. Lots of manufacturers could be added, like Volskwagen (Golf or Scirocco), Alfa Romeo (Giulietta, 4C), Mazda (MX5) or the heavyweight Ferrari. New cars for the existing manufacturers: new McLaren or Lamborghini for example. New series could be built around these new cars, like in the latest update the Porsche 911 50th anniversaries.

Paid version. For a reasonable price players could buy the game, and there would be no premium currency (Gold). Everything else could remain the same, cars would still be needed to unlock and buy for R$. Wait and repair times could be calibrated to be more comfortable and so on.

To sum up, the new updates are a setback despite the new content, the game as a whole still has huge problems. It is still one of the best racing games on out there, buts far from perfect. The AI still needs more work on it, game changer features are missing and the greedy developers should ditch the free-to-play (pay-to-win) model, not strengthen it more. I must give this game a lower score because of it, but this isn’t the end, I think the best is yet to come.

[EDIT – 2013.12.18] It seems Firemonkeys are really listening to the crowd and recently have rolled out 3 main updates. These updates brought 6 new luxury cars from Ferrari, the stellar Lamborghini Veneno and Mclaren’s latest supercar, the P1. There is a whole new track, Circuit de Catalunya and several new events. The downside is that the new content is still highly money demanding as the new cars are one of the most expensive cars in the series. The Veveno costs 900 Golds… On the other hand the Time Trial Challenge is being moderated and the lap times of the hackers are being erased. Hopefully the developers will keep the competition fair and will bring some more improvements in the future (like real-time multiplayer which became accessible on iOS devices)

Rating: 85/100

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More screenshot can be found here: Google+

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Epoch review

epoch01Epoch by Uppercut Games brings mobile gaming to new heights by implementing Unreal engine which is widely used in PC and console titles. Popular games like the Mass Effect series, Deus Ex, Medal of Honor, Gears of War and so on are built on this engine, and it seems Epoch isn’t the last mobile game running on this engine.

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Epoch is a fast-paced action shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world, where robots fight each other completing different tasks and missions to uncover the civilization once lost.

The graphics are amazing, it’s on par with PS2 titles, the controls are simple and intuitive enough, but the game also has a tutorial, where you can learn all you need to know to survive. The game is an rpg, therefore it has a leveling system, by completing missions you earn credits and experience too. You can then customize your character by buying new weapons, armor, grenades or other equipment. In-app purchases lets you buy equipment if you want to, but I highly recommend playing the game and earning credits, because buying it for real money just spoils the whole experience. There is no multiplayer, but there are 2 single-player game modes: story and arena. In story, you do missions and follow the story-line, in arena mode, you kill waves of robots for a high-score. Both modes are fun, the game is well designed, but the AI could be better (I mean stronger, tougher opponents). They can be challenging sometimes though. The background music is good too, the animations, characters, buildings, objects really look amazing.

The game also has multiple profiles, which means you can have several playthroughs or different players on the same device. On the other hand, the game doesn’t respond to the *back* button on my phone, so navigation in-game isn’t flawless. I would’ve really appreciated an exit button, but no need to fear, once you exit the game, it doesn’t end up filling up your ram, it quits automatically.

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 Pros:

  • Graphics, controls, story
  • Unreal engine, Profiles
  • Only 3 app permissions (non- critical)
  • Single-player game modes
  • High number of gear and equipment
  • Low price 0,66 €

Cons:

  • No exit button, no respond on * back* button
  • No real 3D (like Mass Effect: Infiltrator)
  • In-app purchases
  • Becomes repetitive over time
  • No multiplayer

 Recommended for: for rpg and action-shooter fans is a must-have;  for others, definitely worth a try

 Rating: 86/100

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