Posts Tagged Tip

deusexguide00Despite the apparent opulence of Deus Ex: The Fall’s world, it’s still a very dangerous place. Whether you fight back against your aggressors or sneak past them without any bloodshed is a matter of preference, but one way or another these threats will have to be dealt with. It’s the very reason we’ve put together this handy guide that includes suggestions for weapons, attachments, augmentations, and general tips that should help Ben Saxon live to get caught up in a web of corporate intrigue another day.

General Exploration and Hacking

deusexguide04There are lots and lots of worthwhile goodies to be found just laying around the environment, but you won’t be able to reach all of it without a little help. Oftentimes there will be a couple of different options available for getting inside of a locked room, but without the proper augmentations certain areas will be off-limits for the entire game. That’s why you may want to think about teaching Ben a few of these skills if you’re interested in scrounging every last inch of the world for gear.

Strength – Move Heavy Objects is a handy skill to have both for exploring and circumventing enemies. It boils down to shoving large boxes out of the way but it often reveals hidden access points or opens up new paths. Punch Through Walls can also be quite handy, even from a non-combat standpoint. With it Ben can essentially create his own doorways through specific points of the environment, although punching through solid concrete makes a fair bit of noise so exercise caution when using it.

Hacking – If you want to find all the hidden goodies, you’re going to need to get used to hacking. Aside from the general Capture skills that allow Ben to hack more and more advanced systems with each upgrade, he can also make use of Hacking Stealth to make him less noticeable when capturing nodes as well as Fortify to strengthen captured nodes and make a trace more difficult.

Combat Augmentation and Weapon Specializations

deusexguide02We can’t always avoid confrontation, and when that happens in Deus Ex: The Fall it can quickly turn into a kill or be killed situation. Thankfully Ben has more than a fair amount of combat experience, so by focusing on certain firearms and augs he’ll be more than capable of holding his own when things get dicey.

Armor – If you plan to get into a lot of firefights, you’ll definitely want to take points in armor. Not only will it increase Ben’s toughness but after a couple of upgrades he can also learn EMP Shielding, which will nullify the effects of EMP blast from grenades and mines as well as render him immune to electrified flooring.

Strength – Punch Through Walls is great for exploring, but it’s also handy for fighting. With the proper timing Ben can easily dispatch an enemy that would otherwise be difficult to sneak past simply by reaching through the wall they’re standing by. Recoil Compensation and Aim Stabilization are also important since there’s bound to be a lot of shooting (especially once he blasts a hole in a wall with his fist) and accuracy will be very important.

Weapons – With the exception of the Stun Gun, all the firearms are lethal. The Crossbow can silently take out unarmored enemies with enough damage upgrades while the 10MM Pistol and Combat Rifle can also be fitted with sound suppressors in order to take out targets from a distance without making too much noise. If subtlety isn’t an option (or desired) there’s also the Q Tap attachment for the 10MM Pistol that adds armor piercing. Then there are all the non-so-subtle weapons like the Tactical RPG, Plasma Rifle, and Shotgun. Ben also has access to Frag Grenades and mines, both of which can be devastating if used against groups of enemies. EMP Grenades and Mines are also worth considering as they’re useful when dealing with mechanical enemies as well as augmented humans.

Stealth Augmentation and Weapon Specializations

deusexguide01Not everyone is looking to start a fight or kill hapless guards. In fact, it’s entirely possible to complete Deus Ex: The Fall’s first episode in its entirety without killing anybody. It requires a lot of sneaking around and some very particular skill choices, but it’s also incredibly satisfying to pull off.

Cloaking System – Ben’s ability to cloak gives him a distinct advantage when it comes to sneaking past enemies. Its power usage is limited, but when used at the right moment it can make navigating a room full of guards a lot easier.

Multiple Take-Down – Since ammo is somewhat limited and the Stun Gun is for close range, you’re going to have to get really familiar with non-lethal take-downs. Each one uses up one of Ben’s energy bars, however, so being able to take out two guards in close proximity at the same time (and on a single charge) just makes good economic sense.

Radar System – Ben has access to the first stage of this aug right from the beginning, but upgrading it to improve its range will be very useful when it comes to planning a route through hostile territory. Although it can be tough to tell where each enemy is, exactly, since they’re only represented as little spots in an empty box.

Smart Vision – Smart Vision makes up for the radar’s shortcomings by showing enemy locations and orientations in real time. It can be tough to tell which direction the little green arrows are facing on the radar, especially when playing on the smaller iPhone screen, so being able to see exactly where each enemy is in relation to Ben through solid objects is a major help.

deusexguide05Energy Converter – Because so many of Ben’s essential stealth augs require energy to activate it’s important to sink some Praxis Points into this skill. Specifically the Energy Recharge Rates as the faster his batteries recharge the sooner he’ll be able to use more skills. Adding more bars through Energy Upgrades is handy, too, but it’s important to remember that Ben only naturally recharges a single bar by default. The rest have to be refilled using items. Of course with enough points in Energy Upgrades you can unlock a Recharge Capacity Upgrade which will allow Ben to refill two bars automatically.

Cybernetic Leg Prosthesis – Ben’s legs have a few enhancements that can make sneaking around easier. Run Silently allows him to move at top speed without making noise and drawing attention, and it works in conjunction with his Movement Speed Enhancements so he can pretty much zip around without making a sound. Stealth Dash is also useful for closing the distance between cover points in a hurry without alerting every guard in the room.

Weapons – Ben has a few less options when it comes to stealth-friendly weapons, but there are still more than enough tools to work with. The Crossbow is still a very viable option and can be fitted with tranquilizer darts for non-lethal sleep shots. The Stun Gun is also a handy option for saving on battery power but it’s close range only and doesn’t reload very fast. If you don’t have a problem with killing, both the 10MM Pistol and Combat Rifle can be fitted with a silencer for more quiet long-range options. Finally, Ben can make use of Concussion Grenades and mines to stun enemies while he makes an escape or beats them to a pulp.

In the world of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, even the lowliest of alien adversaries can be lethal. Especially early on. Whether it’s a Thin Man’s poison or a Heavy Floater’s mobility, every single species has at least one kind of combat specialization you’ll want to look out for. Simply shooting at something until it’s dead can certainly work, but if you want to kill it and keep your squad alive, you should probably take a look at the tips below.

[SPOILER WARNING: This guide lists all of the aliens you’ll encounter on missions throughout the game. If you don’t want to be surprised, please stop reading now.]

xcomeu12Sectoid – Sectoids are one of the most fragile aliens you’ll encounter, but that’s no reason to take the lightly. They’re numerous, they’re quick, and they can boost each others’ combat abilities by linking up telepathically. Of course if the Sectoid that initiated the mental link is killed, both will die. Just stay in cover and pick them off and you should be fine.

Floater – Dealing with Floaters can be a bit tricky because of their mobility. They can simply fly up to “the high ground” whenever they feel like it for an accuracy and defense bonus, and can even airdrop themselves anywhere on the map at the cost of their turn. When one or more Floaters goes missing, it’s a safe bet that they’ve repositioned themselves and are planning to flank you, so make sure to keep everyone in Overwatch whenever possible.

Thin Man – Thin Men are about as formidable as Sectoids (i.e. not very), but they’re far more mobile due to their ability to leap over large walls or on top of buildings. They’re also poisonous and can use that to their advantage by spitting venom at soldiers or leaving a noxious cloud behind when they’re killed. A Thin Man’s poison doesn’t do much damage, and it only lasts a few turns, but it can add up so try to stay away from those green clouds.

Muton – When you first encounter Mutons, you know things are getting serious. These green jumpsuit-wearing aliens are essentially the enemy equivalent of a typical XCOM soldier. They’re formidable, come equipped with Plasma Rifles, are a lot more accurate than most of the other aliens you’ll have encountered up to this point, can use their Blood Call ability to boost their allies’ offensive capabilities, and have alien grenades that they aren’t afraid to use. Mutons are Enemy Unknown’s first real test, but things will only get tougher from here.

Chryssalid – I mentioned Chryssalids in the beginners guide but the warning bears repeating: do NOT let them get close. Chryssalids are primarily deployed at Terror Sites and will often go straight for any civilians they find. When a Chryssalid kills a human (including your own soldiers), which is very easy because their razor-sharp claws to a lot of damage, they also implant a sort of egg into them. This will create a sort of zombie – which is also a rather durable and hard-hitting enemy – that will shuffle around for a few turns before bursting open as a new Chryssalid jumps out. Yes, they reproduce. They’re incredibly fast, do lots of damage, and create more of themselves by killing things. Never, ever, ever, ever let them get in close to your soldiers.

Cyberdisc + Drones – The Cyberdisc is basically the aliens’ equivalent of a light tank. It’s rather mobile in its disc form, and a horribly intimidating death machine when it changes into its combat form. It can lob grenades, fire off some really heavy hitting plasma weaponry, and is usually flanked by two drones that can also deal a bit of damage with some small lasers and repair damage that the Cyberdisc has suffered. While it might be tempting to take out the drones first so they can’t fix anything, the Cyberdisc is a far bigger threat that can usually be dealt with in one turn provided enough soldiers are close by and can perform actions when it appears. Another benefit is that the Cyberdisc is too big to use cover, although it does still benefit from elevation bonuses. Also, try to keep clear when you take a Cyberdisc down as they explode afterwards.

Berserker – Berserkers are a very intimidating breed of Muton which usually appear with two regular Mutons in tow. They don’t bother with fancy weapons, but rather bum rush anything they don’t like and try to rip it limb-from-limb. Much like Chryssalids they make up for their lack of ranged attacks by being more mobile, although Berserkers aren’t quite as speedy. The flipside is that they take a free movement action towards their attacker whenever they take damage. That, and they can Intimidate nearby soldiers, causing them to panic and lose a turn. This can be advantageous, however, as it’s possible to corral a Berserker over the course of a turn by taking pot shots at it with several soldiers while drawing it into range of the bigger guns.

xcomeu18Heavy Floater – All of the mobility, elevation, and air-dropping benefits regular Floaters possess are also a part of the Heavy Floater’s skillset. However the Heavy Floater is far more durable, uses stronger weapons, tends to be more accurate, and makes liberal use of grenades when possible. The same basic tactics for Floaters apply, but doubly so.

Muton Elite – Muton Elites are essentially badass Mutons. They’re tougher, hit harder, and fight harder than the average Muton. They wield Heavy Plasma guns instead of the more run of the mill Plasma Rifles, and like to use grenades a lot more. Oh, and they also like to show up in groups of three. Best to treat Elites as you would regular Mutons, but be a bit more cautious and don’t hesitate to bring out the big guns.

Sectopod + Drones – Whereas the Cyberdisc is the alien equivalent of a light tank, the Sectopod is more like a full on battleship. This mechanized walker fires a devastating laser (twice!) as well as a cluster of rockets, and it has the most health out of any regular enemy unit in the game. Oh, and it also has two damage-repairing drones with it. Sectopods are pretty much the entire reason for teaching a heavy soldier the Heat Ammo skill since it gives them a bonus 100% damage against robotic enemies. Assuming a heavy soldier is present and in range, a rocket certainly wouldn’t be out of the question. At the very least it should destroy the drones and damage the primary target. A sniper with Disabling Shot is also handy since they can use it to shut down the Sectopod’s primary weapon for a few turns and give the squad a chance to regroup.

Sectoid Commander – Think “regular Sectoid,” but on mental steroids. Sectoid Commanders are only slightly more sturdy than their underlings, but they make up for it with some pretty serous Psionic powers that go well beyond simple being able to buff their pals. Mind Control isn’t out of the question, actually, so it’s imperative to make Sectoid Commanders a top priority target, unless an Ethereal is present. Kill it and the controlled soldier will be free, but if not you’re going to have one heck of a serious problem on your hands.

Ethereal – These incredibly powerful Psionic aliens have no need for weapons. Their minds are weapons. Taking on an Ethereal is no easy task as it’s packed with offensive and defensive skills. It puts up a Psionic shield that makes it very difficult to hit, can prevent damage when it is hit, has a tendency to counter-attack, and has an entire arsenal of mental attacks at its disposal. If handled improperly, an Etheral can all but wipe out an entire squad by using mind control, causing panic, and simply tearing a target’s mind apart. The two Muton Elite escorts are just gravy. Thankfully mechanical devices such as the S.H.I.V. are totally immune to mental attacks and it’s possible to develop Mind Shields for your soldiers to equip in order to boost their defense against mental attacks. Treat with extreme caution, regardless. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little overkill.

We’ve already gone over a bunch of the basics when it comes to surviving (or at least prolonging) XCOM: Enemy Unknown. But what about more advanced tactics? That’s where these advanced tips come in. This article in particular is all about the soldiers; what gear compliments which class, what skills work best when paired with others, that sort of thing. This is by no means meant to signify the only successful setup, but rather to give players looking to optimize their troops’ effectiveness with a few guidelines to get them started. And by all means, if you have any related questions or would like to chime in with your own loadout tips, please do so in the comments below.

[SPOILER WARNING: This guide involves the use of armor, weapons, and skills that won’t be available until late in the game. If you don’t want to spoil anything for yourself, please stop reading.]

Equipment Sets

xcomeu24

Assault – A very effective equipment set for an assault soldier is Ghost Armor, an Alloy Cannon, Plasma Pistol, and Arc Thrower. Ghost Armor allows a soldier to cloak for an entire turn (so long as they don’t shoot at anything), and when coupled with Run & Gun is ideal when trying to figure out where enemies are hiding without alerting them to your presence. The Alloy Cannon is simply a beast at close range, and when used in conjunction with Run & Gun can get the soldier up close for an almost inescapable blast of shrapnel. The Arc Thrower isn’t necessarily essential, but when using Ghost Armor it can be very easy to get in close to stun a target. Unfortunately Run & Gun doesn’t pair with the Arc Thrower, but it’s still ideal for closing large distances in a hurry.

Heavy – A good loadout to consider for a heavy soldier is Titan Armor, Heavy Plasma, and a S.C.O.P.E. Titan armor is the sturdiest armor available, and is immune to poison and environmental fire damage to boot. It’s not particularly mobile, but it’s incredibly durable. Heavy Plasma is, of course, the nastiest of the heavy machine guns but as with all the other versions it’s not remarkably accurate or frugal with ammunition. This is why I recommend the S.C.O.P.E over, say, a Nano-fiber Vest; because that extra 10% accuracy bonus can make the heavy a far more effective alien killer without resorting to using rockets prematurely.

Sniper – I’ve yet to find a more effective set of equipment for a sniper than Archangel Armor, a Plasma Sniper Rifle, Plasma Pistol, and a S.C.O.P.E. The rifle and S.C.O.P.E are kind of a given, but pistols are also important because a sniper’s accuracy doesn’t only pertain to their primary weapon. And since it’s only possible for them to move and fire their rifle in the same turn with a particular skill (and the shot still suffers an accuracy penalty), the pistol is great for repositioning them and using Overwatch. The Archangel Armor is the real star, though. Everyone gets an accuracy bonus when they’re positioned higher than their target, but snipers can get an even bigger bonus with the right skills. With this armor equipped, all a sniper has to do is fly straight up as high as they can and wait.

Support – My ideal set for a support soldier includes Ghost Armor, a Plasma Rifle, Medkit, and Nano-fiber Vest. Why Ghost Armor? Because it can be incredibly useful to be able to make the squad’s primary healer invisible for a turn. That and it’s possible, with the right skill selection, to increase a support soldier’s movement distance. It’s not quite as good as Run & Gun, but when coupled with invisibility it makes them a very effective scout. The Nano-fiber Vest is more of a take it or leave it thing, but another handy perk support soldiers can get is the ability to carry two items instead of one. Unfortunately it’s not possible to equip two medkits, but the added durability provided by the vest can certainly help keep them alive longer. An Arc Thrower is also a perfectly reasonable choice.

Skill Combinations

xcomeu14

Assault – As I’ve mentioned, it’s unfortunately not possible to use an Arc Thrower along with Run & Gun (Squaddie). However, Killer Instinct (Colonel) works quite well with it as it boosts the soldier’s critical damage by 50% for the rest of the turn. The catch is that it only applies to critical damage, but a number of skills such as Close and Personal (Sergeant) and Aggression (Corporal) make critical hits a lot more likely. Since I tend to push my assault soldiers into harms way I prefer to stick with the more defense-oriented skills such as Lightning Reflexes (Sergeant) and Tactical Sense (Corporal). I’ve also found that using Flush (Lieutenant) while another soldier, probably either a heavy or support, is suppressing the target can be very effective as Suppression not only reduces the target’s movement and accuracy but grants the shooter a free shot if they attempt to move. So a successful Flush won’t only damage the target but also force it out of cover, which will in turn give the suppressor a follow-up shot.

Heavy – Bullet Swarm (Corporal) is certainly a tempting skill as it gives the heavy a chance to attack twice in one turn, so long as they don’t move, but I vastly prefer the accuracy bonus Holo-Targeting (Corporal) grants. Especially when paired with Suppression, which will keep a target pinned down, reduce their accuracy, and boost the other soldiers’ accuracy against it. Similarly the choice between Rapid Reaction and Heat Ammo (Lieutenant) might seem easy, but note that Rapid Reaction only grants a second reaction shot if the first is a hit. And later in the campaign the chances of most target surviving the first hit are pretty slim. Conversely, getting a bonus 100% to damage against robotic enemies can be a godsend. Mayhem (Colonel) is another great skill to pair with Suppression as it grants a damage bonus. So the heavy can suppress a target, hurt it, reduce it’s everything, then probably kill it if it even attempts to move.

Sniper – Squad Sight (Corporal). Forget about being able to move and fire the sniper rifle in the same turn with Snap Shot (Corporal), Squad Sight is a sniper’s best friend. Being able to move and shoot might be handy in the early stages of the campaign, but there’s an accuracy penalty associated with it. Plus there’s really no substitution for flushing out enemies with other squad members, then mopping them up from over halfway across the map. Squad Sight also works incredibly well with Damn Good Ground’s (Sergeant) higher elevation accuracy bonus and some of that Archangel Armor I mentioned previously. Pair all of that with Double Tap’s (Colonel) tendency to let the sniper fire off a second shot during their turn and you have an extremely formidable killing machine the aliens won’t ever actually see. Seriously, one of my snipers that was using this setup took out a Sectopod single-handedly in one turn.

Support – Support soldier builds can essentially go one of two ways: healing or buffing/debuffing. I prefer healing as it’s far more useful (and likely) to repair damage than prevent it. The Sprinter (Corporal) ability can be incredibly useful because it gives the support soldier a few more tiles worth of movement that can, and often does, mean the difference between getting to an injured comrade in time. Similarly, Field Medic (Sergeant) is another great way to keep the squad alive since it lets the soldier use a medkit up to three times per mission. Revive (Lieutenant) can also be incredibly handy as it not only stabilizes a downed soldier but can put them back in the fight, effectively keeping the squad at full strength. Savior (Colonel) and its bonus 4 health whenever a medkit is used, when combined with upgraded technology at the forge, means the support soldier can bring just about anyone back from the brink and keep them in top form.

Yahoo! TimeTraveler Review

Yahoo! TimeTraveler Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
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Read The Full Review »

iPhotographer: Break Out Some Angles

One of the simplest ways to increase the visual appeal of your photos is with different points of view. This is possibly the one area the iPhone excels at when it comes to taking photos. The diminutive size, coupled with a large “view finder”, means you can easily play with varying angles to create spectacular, different, and enjoyable photos.

Here is what I mean by changing your angles. We have all seen photos where the subject is straight on, with a relatively generic background. While the scene might be nice, it does not do enough to differentiate itself from the flood of these types of photos online. This is where you, your eye, and a bit of work come into play. Prepare to lie on the ground, climb a tree, and generally look like a goon while you try to catch “the shot.” There is a reason why professionals are willing to lay in the dirt, and that is to create an image that is both pleasing to the eye while providing a different view point to set the photo apart.

Let us take an example of how a simple change of angle creates a more dramatic and interesting photo. Here we start with a photo taken straight on. Sure, the Lego Falcon adds a little to the photo, but the overall feel is a bit bland and over done. We get the idea, but the photo is lacking personality.

Now, take the same setup and change the angle you are going to take the photo. Get in close, get low, go high, go somewhere other than just the run of the mill head on shot. Here are a few examples of the same setup, but with varying angles.

Changing the perspective for a photo works on just about every subject there is for a camera lens. The iPhone camera just lends itself to changing up how you construct your shots. This includes when you are doing portrait photos. Try to change the angle you shoot a portrait and see just how a standard headshot can become so much more.

Screen shot 2009-10-05 at 2.03.48 PMEver wanted to sync your iPhone with more then one computer to merge something like contacts or pictures and get a message like this (see photo above)? If you’re someone like myself with more than 3,000 songs on your phone this message is more than concerning. In a day and age like this where so many people use multiple computers on a regular basis how could Apple possibly limit your syncing to merely one machine? I myself have all of my music saved on my Mac Mini at home, all of my photos on my MacBook Pro and my apps saved on a work computer, without constantly copying them all to one machine how can I get all of this content on a single iPhone?

As it turns out Apple and iTunes is more prepared for this than it appears, they just don’t advertise or explain it very well to anyone. An iPhone isn’t tied to just one machine for syncing, it’s simply tied to one machine for syncing each category. In other words you could have your music sync from one machine, photos from another, movies from a third machine, etc. for each separate tab in the iTunes menu. So if you click the “Sync Movies” check box and it warns you it will erase all Movies on your phone you can proceed without fear of losing all of your music as long as the music check box is not marked as well.

Go forth my friends and buy as many computers as you can afford, iPhone syncing can no longer hold you back from your dream of having an AT&T-like command center in your basement.att-command-center-500px

Tony’s Tip – 3.1 Remote Passcode

With all of the announcements and new iPods last week, 3.1 really seemed to slip through the cracks. Sure Steve made a special point to show off the new app store genius, which really is a cool feature, and of course the new organization in iTunes is pretty sweet but it also added a cool little security feature for MobilMe users. 3.1

Spawned from the days of the .Mac service that was really built for a niche market, MobileMe has quickly and quietly developed into a godsend in the iPhone world. With features like the automatic contact syncing, the Find My Phone, and Remote Wipe features, there was already plenty of reason to be looking in this direction. However, until now there was still a small security concern lurking. Find My Phone gave you the ability to locate your phone if you left it somewhere and the Remote wipe would clear it off if it was stolen, but what about if you’re not sure which has happened. Maybe it was stolen but maybe you just left it at the bar. If you wipe it then you can’t locate it any longer, but if you don’t then someone could be looking through all those pictures you took last week in Vegas. BAM, Apple brings you Remote Lock. Via the MobileMe web page you can set a pass code lock that instantly kicks the phone out of any app it’s running and locks it up nice and tight. Someone could still shut the phone off at this point but at the very least you know they aren’t getting to your information. All and all, this is a great little feature that really completes the security circle Apple is trying to build for it’s iPhone users. Here is the list of other features 3.1 add as well.

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