Why Battlefield 3 is awesome

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Since October last year, half of my life has been devoted to one amazing creation that is Battlefield 3. Getting mostly 9’s from the critics, the only real competitor to this huge FPS is obviously the CoD series. Since both series have been going on for over half my life, they both certainly have the experience and knowledge to nick £40 out of your pocket and make you feel good about it, but Battlefield 3 does it in a way that nobody would’ve ever imagined before. Using the Frostbite 2 engine and the multiplayer element of the Medal of Honor reboot as a warm-up, DICE made this game the most epic and awe-inspiring game of, well, ever. With 5 million sales in the first week, I am going to explain to you why you should get this game if you haven’t already.

I will start with the part of shooters that is dying a slow and painful death: the campaign. Having completed it in a day on hard difficulty about 4 months ago, it remains a sweet memory in the heart of my mind. You start off as a foot soldier in the middle of some war-torn Iranian city as part of a small squad of soldiers. After a short while of the atmosphere consuming you, quick fire-fights and realistic situations begin to steal your mind and eyes from the real world. You are quickly shown the amazing destruction engine and realistic sounds as well as things like suppressive fire which makes killing the enemy a lot harder. With all the realism intact, you are still left feeling like you are a super soldier, until of course you get cocky and take a bullet to the face. Skipping on a bit as, although I’d love to, I can’t take you through the whole campaign, you are put in the shoes of an F-18 pilot, an M1A2 Abrams (i.e. a big tank) and a Russian guy trying to help the world – for once. After the mind-blowing good lengthy missions that lead up to the finale, some good twists and revelations give that grin a widening and leave you feeling as if you’ve just completed the BF3 campaign because there’s nothing really that compares to it.

The next part of the game to explain is the ground-breaking multiplayer that wins most people. The multiplayer has been patched and tweaked and added to constantly to maintain its beauty. From DLC’s to sounds that literally are real, I bow to DICE for giving this brilliant game the upkeep it needs, as any good game does. Analogy alert: nice cars cost a lot to run. The multiplayer is for pretty much anyone. If you are an adrenaline junkie crazy guy you can enter the close quarter maps and game modes which allow simple quickly changing games, but if you like a tactical teamwork inspired game that includes vehicles for land, sea and air then jump into Conquest. As well as the game mode you’re looking for, the type of player you are is taken into account as well. From mounting bipods and massive scopes and keeping your gun on semi-auto to using nothing but your fully auto side-arm and fear to kill your enemies, you can pretty much do anything, use anything or be anything you want to. With plenty maps, weapons, attachments and vehicles the multiplayer is almost flawless. However every game has its bad points and Battlefield 3 is no exception. On large maps against a skilful enemy you may find yourself spawn-trapped with no escape apart from the AA gun that’s being hogged by Brian Peppers’ downy brother. Another problem that may occur which has happened to me twice in total (in my 100+ hours of game time) is when your guns or menu do not appear so you find yourself useless and stuck. The last problem is that you find hours of your day vanish in front of your eyes, although I’d rather that than watch parts of your controller sprinkle across the room after your latest venture on to Modern Warfare 3. Another small part of the game for extra fun is a co-op mission strand consisting of 6 missions that you complete with your friend to unlock some extra guns for online games. The co-op does not need much explaining apart from that it is fun and fulfilling.

A problem however that people have with the game however is that it constantly wants your money to rent a server, buy a new map pack or get access to online features. First of all, most of these are avoided if you preordered or bought a limited edition (which costs no more than a regular copy), both of which give you codes for online play and free DLC. Secondly, you cannot blame DICE or the game for this as all the previous stuff was originally going to be free until EA stuck their big, money sucking noses into it and persuaded DICE to let them charge for it. No wonder they’re the worst company in America.

Overall Battlefield 3 is a great game and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone that is a new gamer, an FPS fan or just anyone with a PC or console. With things like a never-ending achievement list, upgrades to get, people to shoot and wallet-melting DLC combined with other things like dozens of maps, completely customisable weapons and orgasmic sounds and graphics, for me this game couldn’t be better.

Cue epic BF theme tune.

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I have 122 friends on Facebook and this is why

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The majority of people I know on Facebook have way over 400 friends. This is ridiculous. I know that the average person will not care about half of his/her ‘friends’ posts, comments and statuses. So why have them? Does it seem cool to have a load of people you could possibly speak to if you ever might need them? Or do you just add people for the sake of adding them?

Facebook now lets you rate your friends too. By default you have groups for your work colleagues, local friends, acquaintances and school friends and you can make even more if you desire. If these people are really your friends, is it really fair to rate them? Do any fall into the acquaintance category, and if yes, then why are they labelled as a Facebook ‘friend’? Maybe it’s just me, but this whole thing seems really messed up.

Also I think accepting people you don’t properly know is actually quite dangerous. I’m not saying that they’re going to steal your identity and spend all your money, but the more ‘friends’ you have that aren’t your friends, the more you are open to different forms of cyberbullying and online threats. About a year ago I would have never have thought of this but on my old Facebook account I saw some pretty nasty comments that really upset people. Behind a screen people are brave.

I must say that I have so far been through two different Facebook accounts. On the first I had nearly 600 friends, but on my new one I have just 122. When browsing the old one, I used to get so much random crap appearing in my news feed that I did not care about at all. Now I only see what is relevant to me and the people that I care about. Of course I accept the fact that a few people will be the exception, and will actually speak properly to every 400th person they have as a friend, but do you?

Minecraft: What the hell should I do?

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I know I said things in previous posts and I really need to start writing more stuff but I need some help. Please take 10 seconds to vote for what you would like me to do in Minecraft!

Mac vs. PC: The Final Battle

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Since PCs and Macs hit the market, the debate has raged on over which is best. Depending upon who you’re talking to, the Mac vs. PC debate is often even hotter than politics or religion. While you have many who are die hard Microsoft PC users, another group exists that are just as dedicated to Apple’s Mac. A final group exists in the undecided computer category, with either no clue what to use or a version of Linux. I’m here to sort this out, I am not going to be biased, but I will state my opinion. If you think differently, leave a comment below.

Cost

For many users, cost is key. You want to get the absolute most for your money. In years past, PCs dominated the budget friendly market, with Macs ranging anywhere from £100 to £500 more than a comparable PC. Now this price gap has lessened significantly. However, you will notice a few key features that Macs tend to lack in order to provide a lower price: memory and hard drive space

PC = 8/10
Mac = 6/10

Memory

Most PCs have anywhere from 2GB to 8GB of RAM in laptops and desktops, while Macs usually have only 1GB to 4GB. Keep in mind that this is for standard models, not custom orders

PC= 7/10
Mac = 4/10

Hard Drive Space

Macs typically have smaller hard drives than PCs. This could be because some Mac files and applications are slightly smaller than their PC counterparts. On average, you will still see price gaps of several hundred dollars between comparable Macs and PCs. For computing on a budget, PCs win.

There are a few things to take into consideration that may actually make Macs more cost effective: stability and compatibility.

PC = 7/10
Mac = 8/10

Stability

In years past, PCs were known to crash and users would get the blue screen of death, but Microsoft has made their operating systems more reliable in recent years. On the other hand, Mac hardware and software has tended to be stable and crashes occur infrequently.

PC = 6/10
Mac = 8/10

Compatibility

Unlike with a PC, a Mac can also run Windows using a tool such as Boot Camp or Parallels. If you want to have a combination Mac and PC, a Mac is your best option.

PC = 5/10
Mac = 8/10

Availability

Macs are exclusive to Apple. This means for the most part, prices and features are the same no matter where you shop. This limits Mac availability. With the numerous Apple Stores around the world, however, it’s even easier to buy Macs and Mac accessories.  Any upgrades or repairs can only be done by an authorized Apple support centre.

PCs on the other hand, are available from a wide range of retailers and manufacturers. This means more variation, a wider price range for all budgets and repairs and upgrades available at most electronics retailers and manufacturers. It also makes it easier for the home user to perform upgrades and repairs themselves as parts are easy to find.

PC = 9/10
Mac = 7/10

Software

The final Mac vs. PC comparison comes down to software. For the most part, the two are neck and neck. Microsoft has even released Microsoft Office specifically for Mac, proving Apple and Microsoft can get along. All and all, Macs are more software compatible as PCs only support Windows friendly software. Both systems support most open-source software. Software for both systems is user friendly and easy to learn.

PC = 8/10
Mac = 8/10

Conclusion

Many people say that they want to get a Mac for things like Photo Booth and GarageBand along with the rest of Apple’s software,  however this is pointless as you can get better alternatives on Windows. If you have the money for a Mac, you have the money for a high-end Windows machine too. In the end, the choice comes down to personal preference. Due to price and availability, PCs tend to be the winner, while Macs remain the choice for the more elite or anti-Microsoft computer users. As you can tell, I’m a PC and this verdict was my idea.

PC = 50
Mac =49

WP7 AOTW: YouTube Pro

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Henry Hunt:

A while ago I did an app of the week post about an app called YouTube Pro, but due to the use of the YouTube name the app was removed from the Marketplace. Eager to enable people to get the best YouTube experience on Windows Phone, the developers just changed the name to SuperTube and re-submitted it. The two apps are basically identical save for the logo, but make sure you download SuperTube even if you already have YouTube Pro to ensure that you get the latest updates and features on your phone.

Originally posted on Digixav:

I’m sorry that I haven’t done an app of the week for a while, but I’ve been busy at this thing called school. But sitting here gated to my room on a Saturday night and listening to Garden by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs inspired me to get back to the work that really matters. Without further ado, this week’s app of the week is YouTube Pro.

This fantastic app is better than any of the other YouTube apps that I have personally tried, simply because it is the only one I have tried that allowed you to log in to your YouTube account. Upon opening the app, you are faced with a Metro style start screen, you then slide along the panorama to view things such as the top rated videos and your subscriptions. However most of the interesting stuff is located on the first screen. The ‘Recorded Page’, where…

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Birdwatching: Is Assassin’s Creed starting to dull?

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Birdwatching is a column by Eddie King. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

The first time I ever played Assassin’s Creed was in Germany many years ago. I spent a full half hour navigating the tutorial trying to figure out what it trying to tell me to do in German. Despite the difficulties in this, I fell in love and when I got my first Xbox it was the first game I bought. Needless to say I got bored fairly soon.  The first Assassin’s Creed definitely deserves the title of a classic game, but at about the halfway point in the plot it requires the determination of a donkey hell bent on avenging his mother’s second cousin’s murder to finish. Five years later much has changed, so how has the memory mooching megalomaniacal man in a dressing gown been getting on?

After the revolutionarily intriguing first episode, Assassin’s Creed was well known but not perfect, but then came the sequel Assassin’s Creed 2. If you have not played this game then you should be taken out and shot in front of your families. It was the second coming and it had nothing wrong with it at all. It set the standard for any game that wasn’t racing or shooting. The aspects that made it so successful were the fact that you could climb just about anywhere you could see, the fighting looked absolutely insane, the plot was brilliant and had you wanting the next piece of the puzzle and all of this was in a manageable package that didn’t require ultimate gamer reflexes to operate. At the same time it wasn’t easy either and it certainly wasn’t boring.

If Assassin’s Creed was to Assassin’s Creed 2 what Call of Duty 3 was to Modern Warfare, then Assassin’s Creed 2 was to Brotherhood what Modern Warfare is to Modern Warfare 2. Anal analogies aside, Brotherhood was perfection with every little bit being a little bit better. The introduction of the multiplayer was all that was needed to keep me glued to the screen for a very long time. Even Red Dead Redemption took a back seat at this point. The choice of things to do became more in depth and the graphics were just getting sharper; much like Ezio’s blade, maybe a little too sharp. The first signs of problems had begun to emerge. I had trouble dying. Apart from the occasional stumble and misjudging the occasional free running stunt was all that ever stopped my heart beating. I was becoming worried that Assassin’s Creed was slowing to a crawl so far as new developments were concerned. Admittedly Brotherhood was nicknamed Assassin’s Creed 2.5 but as a new game I was expecting more and certainly more of a challenge.

Revelations again wasn’t quite Assassin’s Creed 3 but more Assassin’s Creed 2.750861 and it was the same story yet again, with the same easy combat systems in which one button push could dispatch six guards stunningly enough to make Qui-Gon Jinn’s bottom jaw hit the floor and the same fleet of efficient friends who could remove any threat in front of you without even having to draw your sword and the same ability to defy gravity as effectively elephants’ ears when jumping from building to building. Yes, the story has set the stage for a grand finale and pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place that you couldn’t have added otherwise, but it could have been so much better if Ubisoft had injected a little of the original Assassin’s Creed elbow grease and grunt.

Despite all this, I still have the bottom half of Ezio’s face staring me down from behind my desktop and Ubisoft will undoubtedly continue to relieve me of extortionate amounts of money for the privilege of finding ever predictable ways of killing people. I really love the Assassin’s Creed series and I will continue to play it because it is one of the most fun and unique games available today. That being said, I hope that when I hear the gentle rip of plastic that indicates I have Assassin’s Creed 3 in my grasp I will not give a sigh of sadness as I realise I have already played this very game before only with a man with a different accent, but rather a gasp of excitement as I am grabbed by the balls and dragged to a new world of tomahawks and tea into a new experience.

Is Facebook looking to buy Opera to make its own web browser?

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Fresh from floating itself on the NASDAQ at a valuation of $104 billion, only to see share prices plummet by almost 20% in a week, and a $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, the rumour mill has sparked up again, this time suggesting that Facebook is set to acquire Norwegian firm Opera Software. Pocket-lint’s sources claim that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is looking to create its own web browser, possibly one compatible with the oft-rumoured Facebook phone, and that it is looking towards Opera to achieve this goal. The Next Web also cited a different source close to the browser maker, stating that the company was not only in talks regarding a potential acquisition with multiple suitors, but a hiring freeze has been introduced – a sign that big things may be coming. A Facebook browser could look very similar to RockMelt, a browser with Facebook integration and built from Google’s Chromium engine, but partnering with or acquiring a company like Opera would give Facebook independence from third-parties such as Google, thus ensuring total control over the browser, while also the potential to tap in to Opera’s 270 million monthly users. All of this speculation certainly seems plausible, and with Facebook’s tendency to roll out new features perpetually, it might not be long until we find out the truth.

Things That Should Exist: Clothes inspired by movies

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Things That Should Exist is a column by James Trickey, but today it is written by Hannah Marsh. Things suggested are not always good ideas.

Hey everyone,

I know that Trickey normally writes the Things That Should Exist column, however he is suffering severely from writers block so I’m going to suggest a few things on his behalf, seeing as I have been so inactive recently.

Everyone has watched the Back To The Future trilogy, right? If you haven’t, go and watch it now and come back to this later. Carrying on, in Back To The Future Part II, Marty, pretending to be his own son, puts on a jacket and it looks absolutely ridonculous. Not only is it horrifically out of fashion, but it is miles too big for him, however seconds later it adapts to his size, keeping in exact proportions.

What I want is for all my clothes to do that, but to do other things too, like wash themselves instantly when I take them off, before proceeding to dry and iron themselves when you put them on. If we go really crazy then they could fix damages and sew on buttons as well. Ever since I was a child and I watched that film I have wanted my clothes to do that! In the real world of the 21st century, they’ve made the hoverboard and the shoes from Part II, so why can’t the jacket come next?

After reminiscing about Michael J. Fox’s clothes, I came up with another, possibly better idea. This isn’t really as suitable for guys unless they are actually fashion conscious – which we all know is impossible – but even so it’s a good idea! Every day when I take off my school uniform I ask myself what to wear. It’s a big dilemma, so what I want is to look in the mirror and for clothes to appear on the virtual image, but not on myself. That way I could say yes, no or maybe. When things get really hi-tech, I could even talk to the mirror and tell it what mood I am in and what I’m dressing for. I could change the colour of things and I could change the style of them too. But of course this amazing device would be useless if I didn’t have the clothes, so I want my mirror to be even more awesome, and it can then make the clothes on the virtual image appear. It would be really cool and increadibly useful. You could even save styles and items you like, building a database of preferences over time.

Last and by no means least, I thought of another film I absolutely love: X-Men. At one point in the first film, Professor Xavier is teaching and a girl, instead of writing her notes, is just thinking of what she wants to write and is moving her hand across the paper. I know we will never be mutants (never say never, but it’s pretty unlikely), but what if we could have a glove and a hat that, when put on, work together to translate our thoughts onto some ?sort of special paper? No more achey hands in lessons and exams. I would definitely invest in that.

Birdwatching: Minecraft vs. Lego

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Birdwatching is a column by Eddie King. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

Many moons ago, before the red ball of fury was angry and consumed with rage at the idiots who run the world, he spent his time building the most tremendous Lego structures the world has ever seen, and spent hours planning the most complicated battle plans in an attempt to outwit the little yellow men on the other team. Now, I play Minecraft whenever I have an urge to see an insane idea of mine on a screen and soon my little brother will too. The problem is he has never spent hours on some incredibly complex technological project that will rock the world of your own innocent dreams and never feel that awesome feeling of success. The real question is, despite my nostalgia, is this really a bad thing?

There is a little thing called evolution that I am rather fond of and I consider it the ultimate succession of life. Up until now, each generation has thought of something new and old people have complained about how much easier life was or how much worse it has become. The problem is that in the last hundred years we have made technological progress at a rate which is beyond comprehension. People are getting worried because every stereotype or old wives tale which we feel comfortable in is being rewritten thanks to computers. They are attacked and teams of individuals have made it their lives’ work to prove they are bad. But are they? I think that any change society makes on a mass scale must, by definition, be positive, otherwise that change would not happen on such a large scale. Take smoking – thirty years ago it was the pinnacle of cool and advertised at or sponsoring almost every major event. Seventy years ago it was just one of the things you did like breathing. It has however been clinically proven to kill you, so they stopped the advertising and sponsorships and today smokers are shunned. People still smoke, but the ones that do know how they could be compromised. The technological revolution is a compromise and one that I have not really made. For instance, how many people – especially teenagers – who are reading this post know how to skin a rabbit? On the down side, I am a terrible zob and I can’t touch type, but I am happy with that compromise.

My point is this – the technological revolution has not yet completed revolving and the more we fight it the longer it will take. I think we should sit back and let it take its course. If it works out then great, but if not then people will change because I think one of the biggest problems today is people don’t trust themselves. There is no confidence. People have been adapting for quite a long time now and they’ve got quite good at the whole survival thing.

My brother won’t have those great memories and I might feel bad for him, but he will have other memories and other experiences that I shall not have, and so we have come to the end of this sermon. I think that people should sit back and let this period of social evolution take its course.