Age of Wonders III…Do I like it? oh and have some cheat codes you cheater :D

I picked u20140330000327!Age_of_Wonders_III_Cover_Artp Age of Wonders III yesterday.  I’ve been interested in this game for a long time and I really hoped it would live up to my expectations.  I haven’t played it for too long but so far I’m really enjoying it.  What does this mean for you, the reader?  Well, you can expect a review on this soon.  In the meantime if you have the game already and would like to try out some cheats, then you are in luck because some are listed below.  User beware though because some of these may mess up your game!

To cheat just type CTRL+ALT+C
Nothing will happen or pop up to indicate this has worked so don’t worry.  After typing this enter a cheat code and press the enter key.  Have fun!

BOSCH -Gives gold
REMBRANDT – Gives mana
LEEUWENHOEK – Complete current research
ERASMUS – Unlock all research
PHILIPS – Complete all production in all cities
RUYTER – Spawn hero
NEXTTURN – advances a turn
HAUER – Levels up hero(es) in selected army

WARNING the following cheats may make your game unstable, or cause game breaking bugs, especially in the campaign!

HEIN – Win the current map. If you use this in the campaign, the next map might not work correctly.
CRUIJFF – Allow units to move in the strategic map without using move points
SPINOZA – Unlock all research from ALL classes and specializations
BARENTZ – Give vision across the entire map
HUYGENS – Free spell casting mode (strategic map only)
TASMAN – explores map, does not turn off fog of war
THXBRIAN – gives 100.000 gold + mana, reveals map, gives all upgrades and spells

Special thanks to ageofwonders.com forum users Tombles and Czin for their research in finding these codes using Hex Editor.

Blog update!

Iblogging‘ve managed to make it through my first week of blogging!  Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my posts.  I never imagined that in one week I’d get over 250 views from countries all over the world.  I hope that you like what I’ve done with my content so far and any suggestions you have I would love to hear.  In the meantime I’m going to continue writing and researching, with the aim of bringing you the best content I possibly can.

I have a few ideas for upcoming reviews.  For the time being they are all PC games.  Look out for reviews coming on Age of Wonders III, Divinity: Dragon Commander, The Book of Unwritten Tales and Star Trek.

In May, Watch_Dogs and Wolfenstein are coming out so I am hoping I can pick those up on either the PS4 or Xbox One (I haven’t decided which platform yet) and review them as soon as I can.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has viewed and supported my blog so far.  It’s been a great first week for me.

If you like what I’m doing and want to support me then please visit my GoFundMe page, every little helps me out with getting new material to review: http://www.gofundme.com/SimplyMonkey

My referral link to Green Man Gaming: http://www.greenmangaming.com/?gmgr=pepokire

How to get the Mayan Outfit in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Not only does thAC4_Mayan_outfite Mayan Outfit in AC4 look badass but it also deflects bullets which can be pretty useful during the game.  It’s not easy to get though and you need to have completed a certain amount of the game to be able to unlock it.  I unlocked it last night and it’s my favourite outfit in the game so far.

During DNA sequence 4, Mary Read tells Edward about the Mayan Stelae and asks him to solve the puzzle.  This gives you one of sixteen Mayan key stones.  The other 15 are located around the game, one of which is on the Island that you find the observatory on.  Here are the coordinates for all sixteen Mayan Stelae, good luck hunting them down!  After you’re done, head back to Tulum to get the outfit.

1. Great Inagua: Acquired during DNA Sequence 4: Memory 1

2. Cat Island: (734, 694)

3. Matanzas: (343, 642)

4. Cape Bonavista: (179, 593)

5. Tulum: (70, 405)

6. Pinos Isle: (334, 476)

7. Pinos Isle: (342, 478)

8. Tortuga: (876, 377)

9. Long Bay: (525, 253)

10. Isla Providencia: (502, 44)

11. Isla Providencia: (502, 44)

12. New Bone: (431, 116)

13. Misteriosa: (303, 199)

14. Misteriosa: (296, 196)

15. Santanillas: (217, 245)

16. Santanillas: (221, 242)

Upcoming games that I’m excited about: 2014 and beyond

One of the best things about being a gamer is the future.   As the game industry grows so does the potential of video games and while high def graphics and massive open worlds don’t always equal fantastic games, the future is certainly bright for video gaming.  Here are some of the games I am most excited about.  I’ve labeled which platform they are going to be available on in terms of my focus which is only PC, PS4 and Xbox One.   While some of these titles are coming out on last gen consoles, I haven’t noted this.  These titles are in no particular order but I’m going to start off with the game I am most excited about.

DestinyDestiny-Box-Art-Reveal – September 9, 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

From the creators of Halo, Destiny looks to be one of the most promising games of 2014 and certainly the one I am looking forward to the most.  Featuring character creation, and an experience that resembles an MMO, you will explore multiple worlds once part of a great human civilization while fighting enemies using powers from various classes.

The Last of Us: Remastered – 2014 (PS4)

The PS3 version of The Last of Us became one of my favourite games of all time thanks to it’s story and characterization.  The remastered version will have full native 1080p support as well as more pixels and enhanced lighting and shadows.  The PS4 version will also be getting some gameplay enhancements although these are not known at this time.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

The latest installment of the popular Ubisoft franchise will thrust players into the midst of the French revolution.  Not much else is known about this game at this time.

world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor-logo-1920x1080World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor – 2014 (PC)

I left WoW a few years ago but I still miss it from time to time.  The thought of going back in and grinding through the levels again really put me off, especially as I don’t have as much time to do that sort of thing as I used to.  The fact that with the release of the latest WoW expansion you can get a level 90 character boost makes me very interested in returning to Azeroth, and I don’t think I’m alone.

Deep Down – 2014 (PS4)

I am of the opinion that if you buy a console you should definitely make use of it’s exclusive content and Deep Down is no exception.  When it was revealed it intrigued a lot of people, including me, and I am interested to see what Capcom’s dungeon crawler will turn out to be like.

NHL 15 – 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

In my opinion EA’s NHL franchise is one of the worst at the moment, mainly due to stale gameplay and presentation.  Compared to NBA 2k and FIFA, NHL is far behind and they really need to come onto current gen swinging.  Improved visuals, new commentary, and gameplay overhaul are musts for this series.

Halo_5Halo 5 – 2014/2015 (Xbox One)

The past few months have shown that the PS4 is selling better than the Xbox One right now.  Titanfall wasn’t really an effective weapon in the console war and inFAMOUS Second Son was a successful and popular title for Sony.  Master Chief could be “the One” to save the Xbox One.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – October 7, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Although gaining press for its similarities to the Assassin’s Creed franchise in terms of movement, Shadow of Mordor actually looks really promising and I am actually more excited for this title than I am for a new AC game.

Guns of Icarus Online – 2014 (PS4)

I loved playing this game on the PC and am really excited that it’s coming to PS4 so I can play it with friends who aren’t PC gamers.  Check out Total Biscuit and Angry Joe playing this game on YouTube to see for yourself how fun this game can be!

Alien_IsolationAlien: Isolation – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

After the huge disappointment and PR mess that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, fans of the Alien universe were worried they weren’t ever going to get a truly authentic Alien experience packaged in a good game that doesn’t just make use of the movie license.  So far Alien: Isolation promises just that, but the fans have been burnt before.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – 2014 (PC)

I recently reported that Sid Meier’s Beyond Earth was announced at Pax East 2014 and I couldn’t be more excited.  I am a huge fan of Sid Meier’s titles and while the developers have stated that this isn’t an Alpha Centauri remake, I live in hope that the title does echo that game in certain ways.

Evolve – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

As soon as I found out that this game was made by the creators of Left 4 Dead I started to get excited.  Add the fact it is sci-fi based (a genre I particularly love) and you have yourself one excited game blogger.

the-crew-e3-game-cinematic

The Crew – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I’m not a huge fan of racing games and haven’t really enjoyed one, except for the F1 series, since Need For Speed Underground.  That said, I’m really excited about The Crew.  I really like that it lets you play and race with friends in groups and I can’t wait to test it out.  For a racing game to have peaked my interest, it’s special.

Watch_Dogs – May 27, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

What was supposed to be a launch title, Watch_Dogs has a lot of promise and hype surrounding it but still has a question mark over its head.  Will it be worth the wait?  The fact that Ubisoft held the game back because it wasn’t ready is a good thing in my opinion.  Too often we see games being released in an unfit state.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – February, 2015 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Talking of games that have been held back, I was sad that The Witcher 3 was moved to next year but again, happy because I know that the game will be better for it.  Wild Hunt will be the last in The Witcher story and I am a big fan of the previous two games in the series, especially Assassin’s of Kings.  This game has a lot of promise and will hopefully be a Game of The Year  contender in 2015.

batman_arkham_knight_game

Batman: Arkham Knight – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Set to be the final game in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, Knight is shaping up to be a great game.  The studio is taking back control of the franchise after WB Montreal released the solid Arkham Origins. Rocksteady’s game is set after Arkham City and will allow players to drive the batmobile for the first time.  They have also created a brand new villain (pictured) but on first glance I swore it was Wrath (which would also be cool by the way).  I’m a big fan of the franchise and I am looking forward to the final installment.

Mad Max – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Ok, I know there are a ton of post-apocalyptic games out there but Mad Max is a pretty bad ass license (if you haven’t seen the movies, go watch them…now…I can wait) and I am excited to see how this game turns out.

Lords of the Fallen – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Comparisons to Dark Souls aside, this game looks very promising.  Just read what the game is about and I dare you to not get excited: “a challenging Action RPG set in a medieval fantasy world ruled by a Fallen God.  Fight against the formidable Lords and Generals that command a demonic army, Lords of the Fallen rewards skill and persistence among dedicated Action RPG fans.”

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Tom Clancy’s The Division – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Not a huge amount is known about the latest Clancy title except that it looks awesome and will be multiplayer.  A pandemic has swept across New York City and sleeper agents from “The Division” have been activated to “prevent the fall of society”.

Kingdom Under Fire II – 2014 (PC, PS4)

This game will combine RTS, RPG and MMO elements set in a fantasy world.  Players will control a hero who acts sort of like a general, commanding troops in battle.  It looks really promising but western gamers will have to wait till the game has been released in Asia before getting their hands on it.

Star Citizen – 2014 (PC)

I first heard about this game on Kickstarter and, like many other people, was impressed by its promise.  It could potentially be the best space flight game ever made, enabling players to do jobs such as smuggler or bounty hunter in a sandbox environment.  A lot of people believe in this title, as referenced by the amount of donations Chris Roberts received.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I personally preferred Dragon Age Origins to II but I liked both titles a lot so Inquisition is definitely on my radar.  The developers have promised that a players decisions will have a big impact on the story which really appeals to me.  It’s going to be set in Thedas, the same as the previous titles but the world will be larger.

Galactic Civilizations 3 – 2014 (PC)

This game has been released in Alpha on Steam but I’m not really into buying games that are in this state so I won’t comment on that.  What I will say is, I’m looking forward to the full release of this title.  A sci-fi 4X strategy game? What’s not to like about that?

Uncharted 4 – TBA (PS4)

The Uncharted franchise is a good reason to pick up a Playstation 3.  The characters and writing are both solid and fans of the series have every right to be chomping at the bit for a new title.  Very little is known about this game so far but I will keep my eyes open and ear to the ground for any news relating to it.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – 2015 (PS4, Xbox One)

While I don’t agree with charging $30 for a short prologue, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes did show that The Phantom Pain, which is the full game following on from Zeroes, will be something to sit up and take notice of.  Metal Gear Solid is one of the best franchises in gaming and any MGS release is worth playing.

Wolfenstein: The New Order – May 20, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

As well as being a gamer geek I am also a huge history nerd.  In fact, my first University degree was in history so I am naturally drawn to anything in gaming that I can relate to.  Wolfenstein: The New Order is set in the 1960’s but in an alternate history where the Third Reich managed to win World War II.  I can’t wait to see how MachineGames and Bethesda have created this world and I will try and review this title for the blog when it comes out next month.

Let me know in the comments if there are any games that you think I should add to this list!

 

 

 

EA Sports predicts a Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 2014

nhl-14-playoff-simulation-header_656x369Fans of the NHL and the EA Sports NHL franchise will be used to the yearly prediction from EA as to who will win the top prize in North American hockey.  So far they haven’t done a terrible job, predicting that the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks would win as well as the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.  In 2011 they also predicted correctly the Final matchup.  Last year they guessed wrong with the New York Rangers but this year they might just be right if my own predictions are correct.

NHL 14 has the Bruins making their way through the Red Wings, Canadiens and Rangers to skate out in the Finals against the San Jose Sharks, who themselves bested the Kings, Ducks and Avalanche.  Only time will tell if EA has predicted correctly, but one thing I will say is, my money was on the Bruins from day one.

nhl-14-simulation-eastern-conferencenhl-14-simulation-western-conferencenhl-14-simulation-stanley-cup-finals

Check out the story for more information on the EA Sports website: http://www.easports.com/nhl/news-updates-gameplay/article/nhl-14-playoff-simulation

Biogenik PS4 Controller Thumb Grips Review

I purcha710621bsed my Playstation 4 at a midnight launch and after only a few months the rubber analog sticks have started to wear down.  The grip has disappeared leaving a bald surface which means my fingers slip and slide off the sticks, resulting in an uncomfortable experience.

I really like the PS4 controller but the fact that the thumb sticks wear down so quickly, as has been reported by thousands of other users, means that this controller still loses to the Xbox counterpart in terms om3prJVSfISsxSBXqb7YFTlgf comfort.

After an uncomfortable time playing FIFA 14 I decided to head down to EB Games to pick up some thumb grips in the hope they would solve the problem.  The grips are only $4.99 here in Canada, and so far it has been money well spent.  In the pack there are two variants of grips: one pair (pictured on the left) is almost completely studded offering maximum thumb grip whereas the second pair (on the right) are more akin to the grips found on the Xbox 360 controller.  Both fit over the PS4 analog sticks securely and don’t move during gameplay; in fact, apart from enhanced grip, you won’t notice they are there.

I found this to be a good solution for the time being and my controller is way more comfortable than it was before.  Sony has to address this issue because there is no way the thumb sticks should wear out this soon after purchase.  It’s been reported that Sony has said:

“A very small number of users have reported to us that the rubber surface of their Wireless Controller DUALSHOCK®4′s analogue sticks have torn.

Although the rubber material of the analogue sticks fulfils our quality assurance standard, we will inspect individual DUALSHOCK®4 controllers experiencing this symptom, and will replace them with new ones for free as long as they are within the warranty.” (thesixthaxis.com)

While mine are within warranty, I couldn’t lose my only controller for any amount of time and therefore the above fix seems best, especially as a replacement controller would probably be affected by the same issue.

If you have experienced similar problems, then I would definitely recommend the Biogenik thumb grips.

Mafia II PC Review

Mafia_II_BoxartGrowing up I was a huge fan of wise guy movies and TV shows, especially the ones that focused on the mob’s golden era in the United States from the mid 1900’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the Sopranos but there is just something about that iconic image of a Mafioso in a slick suit, trilby hat and wielding a Tommy gun.  It just looks cool and a lot of people who watch the Godfather and other films in the genre go away secretly thinking these guys, though immoral in their ways, were just badass.

As great as the genre is with regard to movies, in gaming mob games are generally underwhelming.  Grand Theft Auto aside, as that doesn’t just focus on the Italian/Sicilian Mafia, games that could have been amazing like The Godfather: The game and The Godfather II didn’t really give players that iconic mafia experience.  In steps Czech company Illusion Softworks in 2002 with the release of Mafia I, a game which blew me away at the time.  Players took the role of Tommy Angelo, and worked their way through the ranks of a mafia family.  The story was great and was the first truly great mob focused game.  Illusion Softworks became 2K Czech and in 2010 they released one of my favourite games of all time, Mafia II.
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Mafia II, like it’s predecessor, is a third person action shooter that allows players to explore an open world while engaging in a
story that should take the average player around 11 to 12 hours to complete if they aren’t rushing through it.  Although it is a sequel to Mafia I, the story isn’t really connected except for when they intertwine during one mission, but even then someone who hasn’t played Mafia I won’t notice when this happens and their understanding of the story isn’t hurt by the fact.  You play as Vito Scaletta, a Sicilian immigrant who was brought to America by his parents when he was young.  Vito grew up in a poor neighborhood and committed petty crime with his best fried, Joe Barbaro.  One night, while he and Joe are robbing a local jewelry store, Vito is caught by the police and given a choice between jail or military service to fight in World War Two.  Vito chooses the army and in the first chapter of the game you are thrust into battle.

mafia-2-bullet-limboVito gets injured while fighting in Italy and gets sent home on leave.  He meets up with his friend, Joe, who has become involved with a mafia family during Vito’s absence.  Joe gets Vito out of the army and from there the story continues with both Joe and Vito getting themselves more involved with the Mafia.

The gameplay isn’t innovative, it plays like any other third person shooter, but that isn’t a bad thing as it does this very well.  You will be able to use a different array of weapons including explosives to dispatch your enemies and you can either buy these or pick them up from defeated foes.  Cover is an important feature of combat and you need to use this to survive during shootouts.

Driving plays an ActionGunplay23important part in the game as you will have to travel around the city and also engage in car chases.  The cars don’t handle like GTA ones, which is nice because this means the authentic feeling is retained.  A particular thing I liked about the driving was the fact that the cops will pull you over for dangerous driving such as hit and run or speeding.  I also liked the fact that cars needed to be filled up with gas from time to time.  You can also upgrade any car you possess in one of the body shops dotted around the city.  This means you can not only change the cars colour and license plates (essential for avoiding cops) but you can also upgrade a cars engine and tires giving you an advantage verses cops and otmafia-2-wallpaper-mob-menher enemies.

As well as buying upgrades for your car, you can also customize your wardrobe.  If you want to be a slick dressed mobster in a nice suit and hat, you can be.  If you want to dress more casually then you can also do that.  You can buy new clothes from shops in the city and change at your home.  While you can’t change Vito’s features, you can certainly make him whatever ‘type’ of gangster you wish to.

While the gameplay is solid, the story and characters is where Mafia II shines.  The story is your quintessential mob tale incorporating humour, gore and relationships as well as taking you through atmospheric environments.  The characters are memorable and I found myself becoming engrossed in their lives, being happy or sad  along with them during points in the tale.  There aren’t really side missions to speak of, except boosting cars and getting work from certain characters; the main story is definitely the pull to this game, but don’t worry as there is more than enough of that to warrant you playing this title.  The story missions are varied and you will be tasked with missions that vary from “whacking” somebody to stealing something of importance.

The voice acting is of a very high quality and the characters feel real, or rather, feel like they wouldn’t be out of place in the Godfather.

mafia2

This game made it onto my “Top 20 of all time” list for a reason and I would definitely recommend you pick up this title.  The story stands out among video games and the gameplay is solid.

Verdict: 9.5/10