Tag Archives: Windows 10

Haven Editorial: Running Red Alert on Windows 10

I love Command and Conquer, but EA shafted that franchise rather hard. Yet the games can be bought in a neat package at Origin. Electronic arts game platform. However making the older game run is a chore. 

Windows 10 64 bit is not the intended architecture at all. Even more problematic to record any gameplay what so ever. But I did find a workaround. One that can not be done with the origin version.

But first let’s look at the annoying issues.
Tiberean dawn can for the most part run, with the dangers of crashing. Compatibility mode is not very helpful here. Same rings true for Red Alert. Technically there exist an open Ra, which has a new engine and most of the missions. But I never got that bugger to work more than once.

There also exist a fan patch that even works with Dune 2. With custom resolution, but it crashed, then refused to start.

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Alt tab out of the games is a no go. The screen goes black with the sound still playing. I sincerely though the idea of using Origin was to make the games playable on modern systems.

Red Alert 2 has issues with a black screen that I fixed with a custom fan patch. It’s still very unstable and likes to tab out on its own and then refuse to enter the game again.

Multiplayer is no problem at all with Yuri’s Revenge, since CnC net fixes all of that. A quite good fan fix. Does not with well with the story mode though.

Command and Conquer renegade was an almost flawless experience. But as we all know almost is seldom good enough. It decided to crash after a while and the game could have been a bit better in the first place.

I have yet to fiddle around with Tiberian Sun, which is a fantastic game, but a bit poorly programmed and almost as neglected as an orphan.

The easiest way is to install Virtual Box, get Windows XP, then set it up to run virtually with Windows. In window mode, then record the window. For this to work I had to install the disc version of the games. Because the Origin version refuse to let me play then without the software itself installed.

This solution allows software like Obs (open broadcasting software) to record and stream Command and Conquer games without too many problems. It took me a lot of time to find the solution, but it works wonders. Or you could emulate the PSX version of Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert, which runs at 15 fps, but has superior audio quality on the music.

Njål Sand

Haven Review: Quantum Break

artwork.quantum-break.2955x584.2015-08-05.48First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Time travel: we want it, we say we need it and we believe we understand it. These are the main focus points of Quantum Break, Now I spent a good while playing this and I do really enjoy it, although it gives me the sense of watching a British time travel drama. It makes me wonder if there’s some sort of Doctor Who reference or T.A.R.D.I.S. easter egg somewhere…but it’s greatly lacking there.Quantum Break_REVIEWS_Screenshot 15

Even the overall design of the city and town is based on British cities. When it comes to actual game-play though, I found it very enjoyable to explore the levels until I was forced into a story-progression mode. All bits of exploration became disabled and I fought my way through in glorious third-person shooter mode.

I should mention that you cannot backtrack if you are currently playing through an Act. However you can re-load those chapters from the title screen if you miss collectibles, so it’s possible to go back and play through previous stages again.

Now an issue I have with the game’s collectibles and story is: “I have to read!” I know in the past, games like Final Fantasy made reading a crucial aspect. But in a first-person action-based shooter about time travel, I want to do as little reading as possible.Quantum Break_REVIEWS_Screenshot 16

As you play through the game, the collectibles and items help add depth. But I frankly don’t want to go through a few novels’ worth of text to get a more in-depth plot. I want to hear the story. I want to see the interaction from the characters and really don’t want to pick up a newspaper explaining the finer details.

Apart from all the reading, the game-play is amazing and I do love the concept of time manipulation in combat. Freezing time to save allies from getting shot, and using it to take the guns off your adversaries is a great feature. I also do love the basic name approach they took for the weapons, calling them simply “Heavy Pistol”, “Heavy Shotgun” and “Assault Rifle”.

I do have to note that since there are so many options with time control in the game, for me it gets a little convoluted and I have issues understanding what to do (apart from take the gun and shoot the guy shooting at me).Quantum Break_REVIEWS_Screenshot 17

I also was not a big fan of the 30-second loading screen, although that’s rectified if you exchange your hard disk drive (HDD) in your Xbox with a faster model. But I think the most interesting aspect of the game is that at the end of Act 1 you don’t play as the protagonist, but rather as the Antagonist. You play as the villain and must make a choice as to what to do. Afterwards you are treated to a live-action episode, seamlessly blending the fantasy world they are creating into an actual television drama.

Like most story games, your actions will determine what happens. But this also means that they spent a god-awful long time recording, based on each potential outcome. There are five acts in all, each potentially having two episodes; totaling enough for an entire season of live-action drama.Quantum Break_REVIEWS_Screenshot 18

Now just because Microsoft is doing something completely new, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Although most of the issues I have with the game are minute (e.g.: the reading for extra story), others are simply just plot holes that involve time manipulation. I feel that presenting this game in an episodic fashion is honestly not the best course of action. I want to feel the game’s aspects blend together seamlessly, and just how they go about handling everything doesn’t really give the experience I was looking forward to.

I really don’t know how I should feel about this game. Is it an action-shooter or a story-based game with guns and shoot-outs? It feels very confusing and gets even more so when I watch the live-action episodes.E2B_Shawn_Lance_1

In conclusion, the game-play is good and doesn’t have enough issues for me not to recommend it. The story is alright (minus the few inconsistencies), But overall it leaves me with a lasting impression. I say again that it has the strong British television drama thing going on. Perhaps Microsoft is interested in expanding into television?

-Daniel Clatworthy-


Haven Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider [PC]

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Now I should note before I go into this that I’ve played and beaten the entire game with a 100% completion on the Xbox One. Most of this review, however focuses on PC-exclusive features that new players should know about.tomb-raider-ice

Now if you waited for this title, you’re rewarded with some very nice tessellation action, as well as an exclusive full-screen mode where you can use a monitor with 120 Hz refresh rate! Assuming you have the graphics card to play this thing on high, you can play it in a nice 60 fps for mind-numbing graphics that are sure to make you happy you’re part of the ubiquitous “PC Master Race” (PCMR).

There are a variety of “fine tuned” additions to the PC version to enhance its visual appeal. Although the frame rate is a lot smoother (and somewhat varied in quality from computer to computer), you can make it look like you’re playing on an Xbox One by disabling graphically heavy features, such as ambient occlusion. But why you would do that is beyond me.

A feature I’m still not really caring about is multiplayer, where players can buy cards or earn them in-game by completing challenges. For added bonuses, you can also spend real world cash to unlock some other features or outfits that Lara Croft can wear.

The current story kicks off as you are traveling to Syria and the Himalayas in search of the Divine Source, an ancient relic which bestows immortality upon its users. A secret organization called Trinity wants to use it to recreate the world in their image…claiming it as God’s work. The story is fairly simple to follow for the most part, although I don’t want to dabble to much into it for fear of spoiling it for everyone.2914750-rottr2

You also get to meet Lara Croft’s father and learn of the fate that befell him on his last journey. Now on to the main thing about this game and how it differs from its predecessor. In the previous title your goals were very relaxed and straightforward. There were always indicators showing you where to go. The skills were also clear, albeit redundant (as was much of the equipment you found).

The 2013 installment felt like it was holding your hand through the entire game, even on harder settings. I found it disappointing to say the least now with the new Rise of the Tomb Raider. I was expecting the same treatment, but as I stated earlier not much in the first game prepared me for this. Rise-of-the-Tomb-Raider-3The computer AI is still generally pretty stupid; no real improvements. However now there is a new in-depth crafting system with which you can make pretty much anything. Hungry? Tear down a tiny tree and make a bow from it to go hunting…and from there grab some feathers and sticks to make arrows. Trinity soldiers coming your way use equipment better, so you must literally head-shot them with your newly acquired arrows.

Are you badly injured? Grab a leaf and some clothes and make a bandage using your hardcore Indian-styled survival skills…one with nature! Speaking of being one with nature, why not hide in the bushes and jump-attack anyone who comes by? Don’t forget to loot their corpse! The amount of crafting skills is phenomenal; improvising everything on the go…even making shrapnel grenades from materials you pick up.sasa

But where the game truly begins to shine is when you start adding skills into the mix and finding new skills from tombs. Where in the first game you would just get experience and some salvage from looting an ancient tomb, in this one you gain new abilities from codecs which work in tandem with your current skill sets that you unlock as you gain skill points. For example in the initial tomb, you unlock a rapid fire arrow ability and a skill that allows you to fire two arrows in rapid succession. Using these skills in tandem means you can now fire four arrows. If you get head shots, that is an easy four skills right from the get go.

Expanding into story-related things, you can take side missions from various NPC’s you meet along the way. In doing so you can unlock more equipment to help you progress through the game, such as lock picks, weapon sights, and various other equipment, not to mention the treasures you find that can be used for purchasing more equipment for weapons or general upgrades.sa

Now with all these new features in a Tomb Raider title, you may ask yourself where Square Enix screwed up. That my friends, as many have guessed is in micro-transactions! You can spend real-world money to purchase extra outfits for Lara, or cards to be used in expedition mode! Although if you complete challenges in the campaign you can actually get card packs for free and on my very first one I got the bobble head Lara unlock so now my head is gigantic. However they are not usable in the main game which is kind of a bummer, although it would be pretty funny if it was usable in the main story.

The main issue I faced in the game was the learning curve with the new mechanics, not to mention the missing hand-holding features. Entire areas blend together with no identifying marks as to where to jump or how to move about. Only the way-point indicator for survival mode has remained the same…that and finding things in survival mode.

The game delivers so well on the visuals to the point I want to cry at its beauty. With its musical composition and riveting story, it truly is an amazing game. Although let’s be honest, Square Enix couldn’t really mess that up with their excellent writing staff.2809247-1424111574-6

In conclusion, is Rise of the Tomb Raider better on PC than it was on the Xbox One? Absolutely. There is a reason PC players refer to themselves as the “Master Race”. The extra features allow for a more immersive experience and jaw-dropping graphics. It’s simply amazing and absolutely enjoyable.

-Daniel Clatworthy-