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Haven Review: Mighty No.9

    2942839-mighty+no.9_logo_brush+up1015Growing up there have been very few games that have left an impression on me. One of those games was Mega Man and the franchise it spawned. However in the declining years we have witnessed many attempts to create a better and better Mega Man title and we have blamed Capcom.

All the way to the point where Capcom has stopped producing Mega Man games which lead to them not even knowing who are fabled blue bomber is when Nintendo asked to put him in smash brothers.

However not long ago the former creator of Mega Man left Capcom and although he could not take his prodigal son with him. He decided to create a new IP in the name of Mighty No.9 or Beck if you want to call him by his proper name. A Kickstarter was launched and funding began to flow in for his new Mega Man and after a series of lengthy delays we ended up with a bad trailer and a game shortly after.
mighty-no-9-freeze Which I have had the dubious honor of playing both on Xbox One and the PC and I have come to a reasonable conclusion that! It probably wasn’t Capcom’s fault for the decline of Mega Man.

The first of many issues I encountered was its level design and lack of instruction for the game character. You see in the original games they went to great lengths to teach you the controls from jumping, to attacking and dodging, in this it gives you a very brief tutorial at the start of the game and after that.. We’ll it’s on your own after that.

Take for example the Power Plant stage in the game at one point of the stage it tells you to do a crotch dash and you have not been taught that anywhere in the game at all. So you try and waste countless lives because if you fail to do it you will instantly die.3083984-screens_07

The second issue also follows that the game is very unforgiving in terms of what to do. Once you learn the crotch dash is you literally dashing while pressing down on the D-pad you think you can finally avoid dying from the generators in the Power Plant stage. Well you are wrong in this case.

You see unlike the predecessors of his, you knew what the enemy or buildings hitbox looks like just by staring at it. You will understand this is where you go, this is where you avoid death and in this case you don’t get that. And this isn’t the only stage to do this, almost all the stages have this scenario somewhere in them that creates the issue of instant death that will frustrate and confuse the player to no end.mighty-no-9-screen-4

However the game has some good points, most notably the musical composition which remains very upbeat and the controls are pretty easy to understand as well. So the games faults just end up being bad level design, bad character design, bad dialog, and despite all the money they put into the title this does not have the polish we all were hoping for in terms of a Mega Man game.

Don’t get me wrong, he tried and he probably tried really hard and for that we give him credit. But there is no way I can honestly recommend this title to anyone, not even a die-hard Mega Man fan. It ends up being just a big pile of disappointment.

Sorry guy’s but the Super Fighting Robot we are looking for may never be seen again. At least Capcom released the classics on steam and other consoles again.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Mighty No.9

Haven Review: Gigabyte 970A-DS3P

gigabyte_logoAlright, a little summary for those who have been following us for a while. We’ve had a few technology articles in the past involving the Kingston V+ Solid State Drives (SSDs), but after we changed hosts we lost all our original works.

I’ve been having a lot of issues lately with the system I use. Although not my first computer, it was the one that came overseas with me when I moved from the U.S. to Norway. We’ve been using it ever since we started doing charity pledges, live streams, YouTube content and developing our first actual game.

My lovely little Asus Sabertooth X58 motherboard is finally biting the dust, and despite having a “tough” warranty, Asus refuses to replace the board because it left the country of original sale. Over the years I’ve had a lot of issues with Asus; they’re just not that willing to help. What people don’t realize is that our current endeavors are not for profit.

One company however did hear our pleas, and were willing to help out. Good-guy Gigabyte saved our butts so we can keep working, and we now present a shiny new tech article in response.

Here is our breakdown of the Gigabyte 970A-DS3P:

Gigabyte_big1aAt first glance, the motherboard looks and feels like most others. However, since it uses an AMD processor, it has limited dual-channel memory. For those who aren’t familiar with dual and triple-channels, it’s like having multiple people working on the same project at the same time. Although there are benefits to using an Intel board with triple-channel, AMD has its own benefits. Unless you’re a big performance hound, much of the time the differences aren’t that noticeable.2049

This Gigabyte motherboard in particular has another feature I very much enjoy, which is the CPU socket size. AMD is the Nintendo of the computer industry when it comes to their CPUs…they like backward compatibility! I had a spare AMD Phenom (Socket AM3) and it works perfectly in this motherboard. If I want to upgrade to a more modern six-core CPU, I can. The socket supports AMD AM3+ FX processors. That being said, this motherboard boasts a lot of compatibility. If you needed a replacement board and have all the parts for it, you could probably just invest in this model and you’d be set. I should mention also that if your CPU happens to be an FX, the motherboard comes with an unlock feature. If you have a quad-core, there’s a chance the board could unlock two additional cores for increased performance!

And when it comes to PC gaming, more cores and a high clock speed can make all the difference. Speaking of performance, this motherboard also has AMD Crossfire support. Remember my earlier analogy of multiple people working together on the same job? Essentially you are taking two identical graphics subsystems and having them work in tandem to provide the best visual experience. However this is for AMD only. If you have an NVidia graphics card, you’ll have to find a board with Scalable Link Interface (SLI) capabilities.
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Now I’d like to discuss Gigabyte‘s Ultra Durable 4 feature. For gamers who love overclocking (configuring your hardware beyond its rated limits), overheating is always a possibility. For this reason many PC gamers go with water-cooled systems. But if you’re like me, you can’t drop a lot of money on elaborate setups and must constantly worry about the temperature inside your computer. Ultra Durable 4 makes use of Fabric Printed Circuit Boards (Fabric PCBs); the motherboard itself can handle higher temperatures and humidity. This is proves especially beneficial in tropical and sub-tropical climates. This board also provides Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) protection, in case you forget to ground yourself when opening the case. Also included is Power Failure Protection in the event of a surge or brownout. The motherboard is able to deal with a certain degree of excess voltage.dual_uefi_bios

Another neat feature is the UEFI DualBIOS. Now for some users this isn’t a big deal. Many PC gamers go through their machine’s entire life without ever updating their Basic Input-Output System (BIOS). If you do periodically flash-update the BIOS and the process fails, you may have issues re-accessing the system. This is one of the perks of a dual-BIOS; it always keeps track of your current settings. If something goes horribly wrong, it will automatically boot to the alternate BIOS so you can restore and fix any damage.

The only thing about this motherboard I dislike is Gigabyte‘s affiliation to Norton, who’s products are among the biggest memory and resource hogs in PC history. But that discussion is for another day; there’s a pretty sizable list of why I don’t like Norton products when it comes to gaming.

Last but not least is Gigabyte‘s EasyTune feature. Like many computer manufacturers, they are aiming to make overclocking easier for the rookies out there. EasyTune provides a simple interface to boost the performance of your computer hardware. But unless you have adequate cooling inside your system I wouldn’t bother touching it. Although the motherboard may be able to take higher temperatures without added cooling, I wouldn’t risk it.

All in all, is this motherboard worth the price tag it carries? The simple answer is yes. With its modern features and backward compatibility, a new system can be easily built from old peripherals laying around. You can trust me on this…I’ve already done it!

-Daniel Clatworthy-

Haven Editorial: Shenmue III (Kickstarter)

Shenmue IIIOne moment…did someone say Shenmue? When I think about Japanese console games, I think first of Shenmue. Heck, whenever I think about the turn of the millennium and Y2K, I think of Shenmue. While being off the grid for 14 years, the possible return of Ryo, Shenhua, Lan Di and Warehouse #8 sends chills right through me. The original producer, Yu Suzuki recently discovered Kickstarter. That’s all he needed to go ahead with the third installment of one of console gaming’s most important titles.

Shenmue first hit the shelves in 1999; released exclusively on Sega’s brand new system…the Dreamcast. The game tells the story of Ryo Hazuki, a young man on a mission to avenge his father, who was killed by the notorious gangster Lan Di. Throughout the game, you explore a semi-open world set in key areas of Kanagawa, Japan. There you interact with dozens of characters from whom you learn valuable clues, and for whom you assist by completing quests. You also acquire skills in martial arts and use them periodically in quick street skirmishes. Today, games like Witcher III make good use of this back-and-forth story/combat technique.

VUsc3Shenmue II was released in 2001 on the Dreamcast, but only in Japan. The rest of us had to wait another year and purchase a Microsoft XBOX to continue with Ryo’s adventure. This upset many fans, but by then the Dreamcast had lost its staying power in most markets. Although this was attributed to the advent of the wildly popular Sony PS2, Microsoft actually won the bid for the sequel. For new players who never owned the original console, Shenmue: The Movie (2001), directed by Yu Suzuki himself, was released alongside Shenmue II. The movie retells events from the first game, so newcomers to the series may better enjoy the sequel.

shenmue1-1038x576At Shenmue II‘s conclusion, the story was still unresolved and no immediate plans for a third part were announced. Other Japanese console giants (FF comes to mind) continued unabated, and introduced the PC platform…to the delight of a massive new audience. But for many devotees after 1½ decades, Shenmue became something of a Shen-who?

But now Yu Suzuki is back with Shenmue III! He knows how much the series means to us, and has placed a $2M bounty in our hands…at least that’s his 30-day goal on Kickstarter. I am writing this article on Day 2 and already the goal has been exceeded. At various backer-commitment levels, fabulous rewards are offered. The two top prizes were both snatched up on Day 1. One of these was the original “Ryo jacket” worn by spokesperson Masaya Matsukaze, for all of the Shenmue press events 14 years ago. The other was an actual trip to Japan to have dinner with Yu-san himself! There are still other great items available for those who would like to contribute to this amazing project.

B8Sc9So when can we expect to see the newest title in this long-awaited…I can’t believe I’m saying this…Trilogy? Kickstarter posts a release date of December, 2017. This may sound far off, but you can reserve a digital copy of the game now as a backer for only $29…and you can choose either the PS4 or PC version! Special in-game items, as well as physical collectibles are also available at higher contributions. Yu Suzuki has also promised maximum content, including more open world areas should the backing exceed $4M. We should achieve that in a couple of days.

Of course, I offer the preceding as simple facts. No compensation has been received for this article and no solicitation is intended. Sorry…I had to mention it somewhere.

Ryo_ShenhuaAt this point we have another 2½ years before seeing what happens to Ryo and his friends. Will he avenge his father’s death? Will he reunite the curious hand mirrors that constantly haunt him? Will the revamped combat skills system allow us to play without throwing the controller against the wall? These questions and more will be answered in the next exciting episode…of Shenmue.

Ikimasu-yo!
-Chris Roberts-