Monday, February 24, 2014

Game Review: Borderlands & Borderlands 2

By Nydia Tungsten

I have been playing the Borderlands series now for almost since the game was first available. For those who don't know of it, let me sum it up.


The story takes place on the planet of Pandora, and you play the part of one of four "vault hunters" who are looking for the legendary Vault of Pandora.

Brick, who prefers to punch things to death.

Mordecai, whom has his trusty bird "Bloodwing." Both are more into long-range combat and Bloodwing can help get more loot.

Lilith is the "Siren" of the group. Her special ability is the "Phase Walk," during which she turns invisible. As it develops during the game, she can gain abilities from healing herself to electrocuting anyone nearby as she phase walks through enemy ranks.

Last is Roland the soldier. He has the ability to throw turrets down to heal and resupply ammo.

As you can see, each vault hunter has their own unique abilities. I prefer the "Siren" myself as she fits my style, either sniper or up close and personal. You perform many missions that lead you to finding the vault. Every step of the way there, you pick up more and more abilities in your talent tree.

The graphics aren't exactly lifelike, and I think this was due to parental fears of their little dimpled darling who might actually get traumatized by a video game, which I consider to be on par to that they see on their favorite TV show ... but that is a rant for another time. The graphics are well done for the style they intended.

Along the way, you will meet many characters. A certain one you will meet throughout the game is the endearing, yet annoying, but always lovable "Clap-Trap unit.' Another is "Angel," the AI who only you can see, whom I have as one of my favorites. As you play, you will find yourself being "helped" along by her.

Borderlands 2

With the second game in the series, you have four to six characters you can choose from, depending on the download packs you can get. If you get the "Game of the Year" addition, you get access to all of them. Again, I like the Siren character, but this one has different powers than the one in the first game. As you play, you meet each of the playable characters from the first game, but they are NPCs, along with Angel, and of course Clap-Trap.

Your arrival isn't as peaceful as in the first game, as you are immediately under fire as bots from Handsome Jack try to kill you. Handsome Jack is the main antagonist throughout this adventure, and becomes the man you love to hate. He is the CEO of Hyperion Corporation, and has some very memorable lines in this story as he taunts and rants at you throughout the game as he throws harder and harder minions to stop you.

As in the first game, you are looking for a vault and you are "helped" along by not only Angel and Clap-Trap, but with the main characters from the first game as well.

If I am being a little vague with my descriptions, it is because I don't believe in spoilers. The video links are the playthrough to the first "boss" fights under level ten. In Borderlands, I am playing as the Siren, and in Borderlands 2 I am playing as the Mechromancer.

In both games, you are immersed into the story with plenty of humor mixed in. The stories and backgrounds are very well thought out and lighthearted as well at times. And so with this series of games, I give them my humble thumbs up.

BL 1 play through link:

BL 2 play through link:

Why write about games that are several years old? It's because the creators are at it again.

They have a third game in the works, and it may be released late this year or early 2015. Want a sneak peek? I have one for you, and it even has a surprise twist that if you played Borderlands 2 all the way through, it will jump out and slap you in the face!

I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I did.

If you have a suggestion for a game you would like to see reviewed, let us know and as always -

Good gaming to you!

Pre-edited by Brandi Streusel Tungsten

Image credit: HCL.HR Gaming Portal,

Nydia Tungsten

Monday, February 3, 2014

Reader Submitted: Game Review - Rust

From Nydia Tungsten

I first heard about “Rust” through the “Steam” community looking at what was on sale as I often do, where I saw the trailer for it, I remember thinking “ This reminds me a bit of Minecraft only with better graphics.” Then a few friends of mine start talking about it, so I tell them “IF I ever get it I will stream it.”

 The next thing I know, I am getting offers to join others on their server that they play on and told I “have” to get it because it is so much fun. Then I get an IM from a good friend and one of my Angels (Bix) saying that if I get it he will too and we can die horribly together.

Well I lasted a good 10 sec once I got in before I was Zombie chow, LOL, here is how it went.

When I first started the game it asks for the graphic settings I would like, with my system I can go for “Movie” quality in games, so I set it for that, then play, it will give you 3 types of server choices, I looked and looked for one of my Angels server (Pagan) but couldn’t find it so Bix and I decided to just go with the first empty one we found, so POOF! I am in Rust, and so is Bix, but we have NO idea where the other is, to me THAT is the biggest Draw back to the game for me, is the inability to find your friends you want to play with.

We spend over 4 hours trying to find each other. What doesn’t help is that IF you die you are sent some place TOTALLY random you lose everything even your start up base unless you have a sleeping bag made and put down. Add to the fact we had no firkin clue as to what we were doing, but that went both ways, we had no clue and had fun laughing at each other I will include a link so you can see how I did, when you watch it look closely at how everything looks, I was impressed with it, and believe it or not, this is just the alpha of the game. That is what is so amazing to me, is the fact it is not even in Beta yet.

Later Pagan came on and we were able to hop on the server she is on, and on that server we *could* TP to each other, which to me made it more enjoyable, BUT I did die more often, that chat on the stream was fun and upbeat, at one point Bix was killed ( again) by wolves and he comments on the fact that wolves seemed hungry at that point And Treminari  gave the wise answer “Wolves gotta eat too!”, a fact we all agreed on, but still wished it wasn’t us they tried to feed on.

The Nights are dark and mostly boring, if you’re lucky, in this game you don’t really want exciting nights, because that usually means something is trying to kill you.

So most of the nights I spent trying to craft items and weapons and figure out everything I needed to survive. Like minecraft there are recipe’s you need to gather for, but unlike Minecraft you have a crafting list of things you can make, you just need the items to make them, or even craft the items into the other items you need to make other things such as the ore to make metal and sulfur so you can make guns and ammo.

So here is the question you’re asking “Is it worth it to get?”

My answer is this, IF you like Minecraft there is a good chance you will like this game. But the biggest plus this game has over Minecraft: NO CREEPERS! (I really HATE those buggers)

It is a survival game with a little bit of a first person shooter mixed in, it is a lot of fun but it can be frustrating at times and depending on your play style, there is a server to match, if you like PvP there are servers that you kill each other to your heart’s content, Raid others homes loot, pillage and rob, because if you kill someone, all their goodies are in a back pack on the ground for you to grab, but be warned, they will be trying to do the same to you!

The server I am on is more of a co-op server, no PvP or raiding and you can TP to someone three times between server restarts. It is named “Lost Island” Come say “Hi” but mind the rules the admins are very active there and WIL ban but everyone is very helpful and willing to give you a hand.

I give “RUST” a humble Thumbs up, the price is only $20 USD, so very reasonable and the quality for it just being in alpha makes it well worth it as well.

As promised here is the link of my very first time seeing this game.

And here is a bit once I hooked up with my Angel Pagan

Good luck and good gaming to you!

Nydia Tungsten

*  *  *  *  *

I dropped in with only basic info on how the game's played from a Youtube (link). It can be frustrating as you'll be getting hungry before long, and it can be a while before you can find a critter to hunt down for meat, and if you can't find any food (or get chased away by predators and zombies from what you find) plus burning more calories from shivering from the cold at night, you'll eventually starve. Building a campfire can help, but look around first before crafting something as anything hostile nearby can spot you and clobber you before you can respond and get away.

My advice is gather a few stones and wood at the start to make a hatchet.You'll be able to gather wood and stones/ore faster, as well as a better weapon for hunting pigs. Once you get a bit of cloth, make a bow and some arrows. You'll be able to take down deer, which run when you get too close, and should be able to take down wolves in two shots - if you have a steady hand. Bears require about four arrows, which means at least twice you'll have to quickly turn and run several seconds then turn around and fire again. Zombies need several hits. One can back away from the slow ones and fire again, but the quicker ones are trickier, and can be relentless in their pursuit. They might stop chasing you after several seconds, or they can keep it up for several minutes. Predators and zombies can also chase you up rocks, and open windows allow them to reach in if you're too close.

Check buildings for any crates that may be inside as they're likely to have useful items. If you're having trouble finding critters to hunt, you might find food, for instance. But if you hear your radiation detector clicking watch out for zombies, and if it's clicking heavily you'll get poisoned after several seconds. If airdrops are a feature on your server, it's fun to run over to see if you can get the goods. They can offer some very handy goodies.

And once you have a good amount of resources and goods, look for a chance to find a place to store some of them before the zombies get you. You do so by building a crate and putting them in. Even if you respawn at a random point, at least you have a chance to find your way to your stuff. Unless someone picks up items from a fallen player in a few minutes, they're gone.

For an alpha release, Rust is pretty good. It could use some improvements, thought. At the very least, it should offer an option for a female appearance, so women players won't feel awkward. Maybe add a few edible (and poisonous) plants. And perhaps changing the critters AI so sometimes the predators go after the pigs and deer.

Besides Youtube videos about Rust, one useful source of information is the Rust wiki (link). Besides more hints, there's a map (link) which will help you get around and meet up with people. 

Bixyl Shuftan