Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"Farewell Southend..."

"Farewell Southend, it was good while it lasted" - Former Southend United Manager, Scott Richards.

Today the football world recieved shocking news that after a fifth consecutive season, plagued with success, Scott Richards resigned as Southend United Manager.

"It's been one heck of a run!" the Special One said, "Everybody has been fantastic. I'd like to thank the Players, the Staff and especially the Board for making me welcome. For allowing me to work freely at my own standards, and pace. And for making this last half a decade the best I've ever had".

When asked if he ever expected this sort of success, he responded "I don't think anybody could ever have expected this sort of success!"

"I was hired here because the Board considered me to be the best, fresh and youngest option available."

"I was thrilled to be given such a precious opportunity, and I wanted to sieze it".

Scott Richards revealed "I never had any real plan to leave. I'd been teased with offers from great cubs worldwide, and I felt like now was the perfect time. The team had grown into a whole new squad of fresh, young and quick players who can look after themselves".

"Good luck succeeding me!" he targeted to the next Southend manager.

We spoke to a few of the players, including one of Scott Richards star signings many years ago, Seydou Doumbia, who said "I can't believe he's leaving. I'd love to go with him!"

"He brought me to a young and inexperienced team about 4 years ago. Since then, I've grown into a whole new and better player. The whole squad has too."

Starting squad in 2009-10 season:

GK - S. Mildenhall
RB - S. Francis
CB - A. Barrett
CB - J. Mvoto
LB - J. Herd
RM - J. Christophe
CM - A. Grant
CM - A. McCormack
LM - F. Moussa
ST - L. Barnard
ST - F. Laurent

Starting Squad in 2013-14 season:

GK - B. Magliocchetti
RB - K. Naughton
CB - E. Oliseh
CB - Emre Gungor
LB - Guilherme
RM - A. Lennon
CM - A. Grant
CM - H. Darchy
LM - Michel Bastos
ST - S. Ebanks-Blake
ST - S. Doumbia

Total Squad in 2013-14 season:

GK - B. Magliocchetti
GK - S. Ruud
GK - I. Joyce
RWB - D. Limbersky
RB - S. Francis
RB - K. Naughton
CB - A. Barrett
CB - J. Mvoto
CB - E. Oliseh
CB - Emre Gungor
LB - J. Herd
LWB - Guilherme
CDM - A. Grant
CDM - H. Darchy
RM - A. Sestu
RM - J. Christophe
CM - F. Moussa
CM - A. McCormack
CM - R. Goussens
LM - Michel Bastos
CAM - J. Peterson
CAM - B. Mostefa
RW - K. Betsy
RW - M. Falkenburg
RW - M. Halfar
RW - A. Lennon
ST - I. Klasnic
ST - S. Ebanks-Blake
ST - S. Doumbia
LW - Ayoze

Players Sold:

CB - Vagner
ST - L. Barnard
ST - F. Laurent
ST - J. Walker
ST - A. Revell
ST - C. Calver
ST - J. Hazell
CM - S. O'Keefe
CM - L. Sawyer
RW - D. Scannell
RB - O. Sankofa


GK - S. Mildenhall
ST - D. Freedman

In the Summer Transfer Window after Scott Richards departure, the new Southend United Manager clearly knew what he was doing, when he sold Jean-Francois Christophe, a member of the saturated Right-Wing position in the Southend squad, for a great profit of £2.4m to Galatasaray SK.

Scott Richards brought a 1.5 star team to 4.5 stars. Near perfection.

2009-10: Coca-Cola League 1

Position: 1st
Record: W39-D8-L3
Points: 125


Johnstone's Paint Trophy
FA Cup
Coca-Cola League 1 Title

2010-11: Coca-Cola Championship

Position: 1st
Record: W36-D7-L7
Points: 115


FA Community Shield
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Coca-Cola Championship Title

2011-12: Barclays Premier League

Position: 1st
Record: W30-D8-L4
Points: 98

FA Community Shield
UEFA Copa Europe
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Barclays Premier League Title

2012-13: Barclays Premier League

Position: 1st
Record: W31-D6-L5
Points: 99


FA Community Shield
UEFA Copa Europe
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Barclays Premier League Title

2013-14: Barclays Premier League

Position: 1st
Record: W30-D8-L4
Points: 98


FA Community Shield
UEFA Copa Europe
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Barclays Premier League Title

Scott Richards made a move to Real Madrid, where he was treated to a £2 billion budget""

Monday, 7 December 2009

My Manager Mode with Southend United

Hi, so what was it? My 3rd Season when I last posted on this blog?

Buddy, I've come a long way. So let me take you back to that third season. I had just joined the Premier League.

Southend United won that season, becoming the Champions, they also won every cup competition they could. The FA Community Shield, the Copa Europe Cup, the Carling Cup, the Europa League and the FA Cup.

It went down in history as the most incredible season ever. The first time, since records began, that we had seen one team take every trophy home with them. Southend United and the fans celebrated bigger than ever with their success.

Most of the media piled onto Scott Richards, the most impactful and successful manager in history. He didn't have too much to say:

"I joined a really strong team. My predeccessor managing this team really cut out my work for me. Obviously we've had to let a few great players go, but in return our success has provided alot of money, and we've bought some highly skilled players with that money. These players have settled perfectly in the squad, and contribute greatly to the team."

As the fourth season started, Scott Richards was left with £30m to spend. With the majority of this money, S. Richards bought Michel Bastos, a highly skilled Left Winger who would relieve the stress from Ayoze, the only left winger in the squad.

Michel Bastos had a fantastic season, scoring multiple goals, setting up many more, and doing just what Scott Richards hoped, taking stress from Ayoze, and contributing to the already fantastic squad.

As the season began, 38 year old Douglas Freedman announced this would be his final season, and then he would retire. Freedman had a fantastic final season. Scoring many goals, including scoring the winner in the FA Cup final to spoil the incredible cup run from Swansea City. And also in the Champions League final against Barcelona to confirm the victory during extra time. He went out of his career the happiest he's been, and with the most successful manager he says he's ever played under.

Goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall also retired at the age of 35, he was a part of the Barclays Premier League team of the Season, as the goalkeeper.

That fourth season Southend United won it all again, except this time they won the Champions League rather than the Europa League.

The fifth season has just begun, Aaron Lennon was the star signing of the Summer, after Scott Richards was provided another £30m. Lennon will be a fine addition to the right wing, where Sestu plays, getting replaced by Christophe and Betsy when relevant.

Turkish centre back Emre Gungor was another star signing for Southend over the summer. With the loss of Vagner due to his decision to leave for another club without S. Richards permission, Barrett and Mvoto had been struggling to hold the defence without getting tired. Emre has become man of the match 3 times already, and shows no signs of tiring. His contribution to the team has been vital.

A scout has been sent out too, and has returned with a Dutch right winger. He's young and inexperienced, but has an incredible amount of potential. He has been improving since joining the club, and already has an assist and a goal under his name.

Players bought:

Michel Bastos
Emre Gungor

and others I've forgotten.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Premier League

Yesturday, Southend United were promoted to the Premier League after coming first in the Championship.

Better yet, they won the FA Cup, Carling Cup, Europa League and the Community Shield. It was an incredible year for Manager Scott Richards, who has resigned to the club, and has £20m to spend over the Summer.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Revenge is Sweet!

Today, Southend United pushed forth in their magnificant run in the Championship. Winning many of our games, we've maintained our healthy lead above Wolves! And as the players were getting into their Season, they came across a very familiar fixture. It was a Carling Cup match against, guess who, Chelsea!

Now, I'll cast your minds back to last Season. We exited the Carling Cup early on after a miserable Penalty Shootout against Chelsea, which we lost by a long shot!

But we aren't double the team we were back then! We've come a long way, and also have a few more players to brag about.

And one of those, Seydou Doumbia, would be playing up front! Luke Barnard was forced to fill some unfamiliar boots in midfield, due to an injury to Lee Sawyer, and Andy Grant being too tired to make the match. He watched from the stands.

Elliott Richards, one of the key players who played in our previous encounter, dropped to the bench for Laurent, as he was too tired to play. Richards played a vital role in our attack last time, so we were definately going to miss his strong presence.

We started the game emphatically! Doumbia made a picture perfect run behind the defence. He took it onto his right foot, and attempted to finesse the shot past the Keeper. Cech parried the shot away to his right, which fell perfectly for Laurent, who slipped the ball past the post at a tight angle to make it 1-0! The Southend fans went wild.

Chelsea came back strong, however, like they do. The over-excited Southend defence were carried away, and allowed Chelsea to split them apart. Lampard was the vital man to find space, as he recieved a great pass, and he curled one into the net. It was all square again, and the game was still to play for in the 25th minute.

But Doumbia showed Chelsea what he could do for us, as he used his blistering pace to march past the defence, and take Cech one-on-one. This time, as he took it onto his right foot, he finessed the shot past Cech easily. 2-1.

Doumbia was nowhere near over. His fitness level lowering slightly, he beat the defender in the box from a pass, and he poked it past Cech for a simple 3-1.

Just after half time, Doumbia was still fired up, and he instantly took the ball into the box and put one just passed Cech to make it 4-1. Netting a Hat Trick was a huge blessing for him. His presence at Southend has been felt so far, and he's bagging a big number of goals. He's almost sinking Elliott Richards 35 goals from the previous season, which was Southends biggest success in football history.

Finally, Freedman, who came on for Doumbia (as he deserved a rest), was able to score a good finish passed the keeper, so seal the game.

Chelsea sulked off the pitch, shocked and defeated. We had returned as a much better side. And Chelsea felt that. Doumbia, our star signing over the Summer, made us proud. And he rightfully earnt the man of the match.

Needless to say, with the rate in which we're playing, we can expect to see Chelsea next season in the Premier League. But Scott Richards insists on taking each match as it comes. And who could fault his decision? Since joining the club last Season, our success has been uncanny. If you could disagree with any decision he makes, you know you'd be a fool!

And his decision is correct. It's only the start of the season. There's still alot of matches to be played, and there will probably be a few hurdles for Southend to climb before they can look too far ahead into the future.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

FIFA 10 = Awesome

Well... if you thought Fifa 09 was something, you'd better believe me when I tell you that Fifa 10 goes that extra mile you never thought it would!

The Demo left me with a mediocre feeling about the game, but of course - if you're a true Fifa fan, you'd have bought the game even if there were any doubts.

Well, I've been indulged in the new authentic (and upgraded) Manager Mode. I decided to go local, and go for the "build your way to the top" scenario with Southend United.

The team started with a really average performance, and I was struggling to scrape a point on Professional difficulty in the Coca Cola League 1.

I'd already created a Virtual Pro, and E. Richards (me) was one of the brightest stars in the pack. Though he was only slightly above the rest, his performance was constantly crucial. Despite his low stamina, due to frequent use, he would always put a 5 star performance in!

I exited the Carling Cup very early on. My first match was against Chelsea, which was a mighty tough challenge for my poor team. We were put down by Penalties. I shrugged off the loss, and looked onwards and upwards.

I eventually won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, sinking Dagenham and Redbridge in a classic final. It was very one-sided.

Later on in the season, I defeated Liverpool in the FA Cup Semi-Final. It came from a very unexpected 120th minute winner. E. Richards provided the crucial, crucial goal that avoided the Penalty Shoot-Out that took us out of the Carling Cup months ago.

So we had a little bit of momentum for our side, and soon I could feel a dramatic improvement in the team, and its performance collectively. Despite low fatigue, every player put 100% effort into every game. And E. Richards started racking up a list of goals.

Soon, Southend United were in the home run for winning the League. Huddersfield had played a very great season, but eventually our consistancy prevailed, and as Huddersfield dropped vital points here and there, we were well clear of any threats. And soon, we could confirm we'd won the League, but we still had to play for pride and practice.

We did just that, only drawing one game, before winning the rest to finish on 124 points. Scott Richards (Me as Manager) was delighted with the emphatic win. I'd won the Boards confidence long ago throughout the Season. I'd won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and I had an FA Cup Final to look forward to, in a last effort to bring home some silverware to the club. And of course, we won the League, which placed us in the Europa League next season. It also meant we'd been promoted to the Coca Cola Championship next Season!

The FA Cup was on course. Manchester City had defeated their rivals Manchester United in a stunning derby. That left them against me in the Final...

The first half was full of back and forth action. We looked favourable to score, but each attempt was cut down by City's defence. A few good efforts were seen off by City's keeper too.

Soon enough, the first half had ended goalless, and we went in at half time level.

The second half began, and I brought a tired Betsy off, and replaced him with Chrisophe on the right wing. We were deep into the second half, and I brought on E. Richards for Laurent, who'd scored a few good goals at the closing of the Season, but hadn't managed to produce anything spectacular today.

It was the 70th minute, a Andy Grant, my fresh Central Defensive Midfielder I'd never used was blossoming. And he was really showing off his potential to me! I have a fond memory of him carrying the ball out of defence, taking deep strides, and having yards of space where City's defence couldn't get back in time.

Soon, he was pacing up towards the left wing, to take the ball past a few Defenders. E. Richards was running ahead of him, and as he stepped on the gas, the pass from Grant had sent him behind the defence, and one-on-one with the Goalkeeper on the left hand side of the box. He cut inside on his right foot, and tried curling one past the keeper into the bottom-right. SUCCESS! Wembley Stadium erupted.

We were 1-0 up against City in the second half, but we had all of 15 minutes to play (plus stoppages), and City were coming at us with everything, seeking for an equaliser to spoil our afternoon! Despite strong possession, and attacks on our goal, we held on my the string of a thread, and before I knew it, Grant was carrying to ball out of our half again...

Grant took it down the left, and Richards was waiting for a pass down the centre. Richards ran into the box, and as Grant passed it into the centre, Richards beat the Defender to the ball, and slid along the ground to poke the ball passed the Keeper, into the bottom right corner. 2-0! Wembley erupted again, as this time Elliott Richards had hit the back of the net in the 90th minute to confirm victory! Would you have it any other way?

The final whistle was blown, and City held their heads down as Southend United celebrated an eventful and historic win, and another addition to their silverware since Scott Richards took over as Manager this Season!

Scott Richards had gone from a half star Manager to a 3 star Manager. This emphatic win meant that Southend United had won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the FA Cup and Coca Cola League 1, meaning a promotion to the Championship.

Over the Summer, Scott Richards agreed to staying with the club. I also made a number of signings. I'd been left with a £5m budget after such a successful first season, and my first purchase was Seydou Doumbia. An Ivory Coast Striker, who played for Hearts in the Scottish Premier League. He cost a hefty £4.8m, which left me pretty skint to say the least.

After simming a few of my Friendlies, and selling 3 useless Strikers for about £800k each, I earnt a little more cash to spend. Noticing my need for a new right winger, I searched for the fastest, and most skilled winger I could find. I ended up snatching myself a bargain. Alossio Sestu. An Italian Right Winger, who's pace is incredible. He cost me £1m, which left me with a bit of cash left over.

I knew my defence was pretty tired, and I had fewer substitutions for my defence than I did for my attack. So I searched for another pacey defender. I snatched another bargain. David Limbersky. A right-wing back whose pace is also incredible. He cost a mere £800k. I very intelligant addition to my now revitalised squad.

I played a few of my first games of the Season. Starting off with a 90th minute winner. An unconvincing, yet satisfying victory. New signing Doumbia wasn't playing this match. I decided to try and use my strikers legs before I find an excuse to use him.

After 2 matches, I decide it's time for him to make his debut. And what a success he was! His runs, and tactical awareness is unreal. And his pace coupled with those features to make him a perfect striker! He was tearing apart the Championships defence! He scored several goals in his opening games, but eventually he grew tired, and I decided to sit him out for a while.

I forgot to mention my FA Community Shield match against Liverpool! We met for the first time since the FA Cup Semi Final, and it was just as boring. Back then, we scored a last minute winner in Extra Time to avoid Penalties. This time around, we went to Penalties with a 0-0 draw.

Dirk Kuyt didn't set a good example for his side, hitting the Post for the very first Penalty of the shoot out! Nobody missed from then onwards, until the final Penalty taken by my Left Back Hert, that Pepe Reina saved, and put us into Sudden Death.

Many more Penalties were scored, and Reina thankfully kept going the opposite way to me. Finally, I saved Skrtel's Penalty. And in the long build up to my final Penalty, I scored to win the match 8-9 on Penalties. A promising start to the Season. Some more Silverware added to Southend United's trophy cabinet, in a match that Southend would probably never usually be in!

I'll keep you posted on how the rest of Season 2 goes. We're currently 1st place, after 10 games. The League is tight, and we're waiting to break away from the pack in the early race to win the title! We're still contending for the Carling Cup, defeating Fulham a mere 1-0 after a goal in the First Half of Extra Time. At least we're through to the next Round!

And we're still going after our FA Cup again, after defeating Newcastle confidently, at 3-0.

And to top things off, we won our first two matches in the Europa League. The first being a 90th minute winner by Doumbia against AS Roma! A lucky 1-0 victory there.

The second being a resounding win against a "nobody-team", which we won 4-0.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising on the Horizon

Well, I'll be ignoring the fact that Halo 3: ODST dropped in Europe today, and focusing more at the game I've been waiting for since last Summer!

You see, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (OF:DR) proves to be a game that goes places no other game has! It's such a unique game, and has only one competitor: ArmA II, and that's a title only available to PC Gamers!

OF:DR is an Open World, Free Roaming, Modern Warfare, Tactical First Person Shooter! That's quite a mouthful, am I right? It's a shame we can't categorize all of these elements of the game into a few simple words. Well you can... just call it Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising!

Now firstly, allow me to cover a mistake that many people have been making. People love to call this game Operation Flashpoint 2, because it is figuratively a sequel to the original game, that came out somewhat 7 or 8 years ago!

But that is incorrect. This game is, in no form whatsoever, a direct sequel to the original. There are no recurring characters, storylines or settings.

Also, Codemasters (CMs), are not the original creators of Operation Flashpoint! It was originally created by Bohemia Interactive Studio - who dropped OF to start creating its very own rival: ARMA!

Bohemia actually have copyrights to the name OF2, and can begin a lawsuit against CMs at any given time should they refer to their game with that title.

CMs actually did (poor bastards!) use OF2, accidentally! And they got charged quite a lot of money from Bohemias! This really set them back throughout development of their Game! And that will explain just One of the many delays they had whilst creating the game! I'll get onto that subject in a second...

Moving as far away from that boring Name issue - I'd like to focus, again, on the more interesting features of OF:DR! The World that you'll be playing in is simply remarkable! It's 220 Square Kilometers! For those of you who aren't as knowledgeable about sizes as others... That's pretty freakin' HUGE! If you've ever played Far Cry 2, and you combined the entire land they let you play on (50 Square Kilometers), that was pretty big! That was big and pleasing enough to be considered the whole of Africa! Well this game will be multiplying that Worlds size by Five! That's right, this World is 5 times the size of Far Cry 2's take on Africa!!

The World is actually an Island. It's set on a Real Island by the North Coast of Japan, called Skira Island. I believe they may have actually created the Island fully to scale, which is an accomplishment within itself! What lies on the Island is a different matter! The real Island could contain anything! It could be as modern and Urban as Tokyo! Or it could be completely Rural (natural Grass, Trees and Foliage). In OF:DR, it merges almost every type of scenario you could ask for!

The majority of the Island is endless fields of Grass. This isn't particularly a bad thing. The completely open fields have little or no cover! You're a sitting duck! The fields aren't just pure flat! There are tall hills that bear Trees. The Trees provide a major cover for Snipers and other long-ranged equipped soldiers! Players will naturally find theirselves using cover, and sometimes Mother Nature provides that cover - although Players will hardly notice and appreciate that. All it takes is for the enemy to be lurking in the darkness beneath the Trees, and you're a dead man walking in those fields!

But there are also urban settings too! In early footage, it felt like the whole Island was Grass and Trees, and they just told us to go roll around in it! But eventually as this game developed further, the video footage began showing more of the urban environments. Although, at first it might have been a few tiny wooden houses in the middle of nowhere - like a Checkpoint Box to allow Vehicles to pass. In fact, that is exactly what it was.

But now I've seen the insides of an Oil Refinery, some kind of Airport built with glass windows, where a Heli-Pad was. And I've seen small little villages full of Houses fit for civilians. These particular villages look like something out of Battlefield: Bad Company. And I shouldn't have to say this, but I will - that's not a bad thing! Bad Company's villages, though repetitive, were well crafted and suitable for action. They will fit well in this game, too!

Finally, there was an extremely nice modern Bridge that could have been connecting the land between a deep Valley, or maybe a River. For whatever reason that Bridge is there, it looks like a major chokepoint for action, and will be a specific Spawn Location option for Online Multiplayer, so players can battle over this Bridge!

So the Setting is pretty satisfying. I promise you they've covered almost any scenario you could ask for...

Now to the features. Like I mentioned, it's Modern Warfare. It has alot of the modern Weapons and Vehicles. There are Tanks, Armored Cars, Amphibious Vehicles, Helicopters and Boats.

Now, although you can't fly Jets, you can call in Air Strikes. I've seen an Artillery Strike tearing up a small Village. And in one of the Trailers, you see Jets flying over through the clouds at the end. Now this leaves a helpful suggestion that I concluded long ago. Artillery Strikes are their own feature. An Artillery Strike certainly can't be referred to as an Air Strike, can it? Either way, I'm hoping those Jets aren't a feature that were removes. I'd pray to see a Carpet Bomb feature with the Air Strike, because Artillery isn't the only way you can attack from the air! To call an Air Strike, players are equipped with a pair of Binoculars. Once you pull out these Binoculars, you have a couple of options to choose from, and the main focus is the Air Strike.

I mentioned Modern Weapons a short while ago, and the main focus from the Trailers and Gameplay footage has been the M-16. The M-16 is a three bullet burst rifle, and although it has featured in many games, it will probably be remembered most from Call of Duty 4. Although there are many other weapons, you just can't watch an OF:DR video without catching this weapon in the mix! I've seen multiple variants of the weapon too, which reveals a great deal about Weapon Customization!

I've seen the weapon with a Holo Sight. Once again, for those unsure... the Holo sight is fairly similar to the Red Dot Sight you will remember from Call of Duty 4. However, instead of a red dot in the centre, you have a circle in the centre of the scope, with a tiny red dot in the centre of the circle. If you need a further example, the Holo Sight featured in 007 Quantum of Solace, which was a Game created by Activision's second development team, Treyarch.

I've also seen the M-16 with an ACOG scope, remembered from CoD4 and 007: QoS. And also, something I can only presume to be a 6x Scope, which would be remembered from Rainbow Six Vegas at least. And finally, a FLIR scope. This is a Thermal Scoped weapon that, when used, will light up anything with a heat signal in the area. This particularly helps with missions at Night, or when a Smoke Grenade is impairing your vision of the enemy. For those of you who would prefer to use other equipment when in a Dark scenario, you can be equipped with Night Vision Goggles, a Laser Sight and a Torch. The last two clip on to your weapon, and the laser sight is particularly impressive with night vision goggles, as the laser is larger. And whilst playing in Co-Op, you could point anything out to your friends by using the laser.

I should probably mention that Vehicles are also equipped with a FLIR scope. You can choose to use this scope. I've seen it used before, and it lights up the enemy vehicles like it's the fourth of July.

Now for the final part of the features. I previously mentioned the fact that it is a Tactical First Person Shooter. Now, it's an FPS. Great! But the Tactical word in that part is my main focus. Tactical Shooters usually involve Squads following you around, whilst you give orders. And that's exactly what happens here! You have a squad of 2 or 3 soldiers. Each soldier plays a specific role in your squad. How relevant and noticeable these different roles are hasn't been emphasised yet.

But the squad system is very advanced, and looks alot more in-depth and enjoyable than most of the other tactical shooters around. You can form shapes in your squad, the most documented shape being ''V". I think there may be one other shape you can form.

You can give orders for your squad to flank left or right, which will involve your squad moving forward to the flank of your location. This requires you to lay down suppressing fire to distract the enemy. It also means you'll be needing all the cover you can get, so you can stay alive!

You can also give important orders to your squad, like "Hold your Fire" - which will prevent your Computer AI squad from firing a single bullet. However, the AI is clever, and they will fire when they realise it's their only resort unless they die. This would only happen in a situation where they are in close-quarters with the enemy, with no cover at all.

Other orders are "Fire on my Lead" - which means your squad, once again, will not fire. But they will open fire on the location you're shooting at once you begin to shoot. They may also open fire on other locations that may endanger your lives.

Finally, the least popular order (depending on the scenario) is "Fire at Will" - your Squad will open fire the second they've got a visual on an enemy. They won't ask for permission to fire, they will instantly open fire. This is probably when you have the least control over your squad. It's also one of the options you'd only choose if you are in an all-out War on an open Battlefield.

Your squad don't just take your orders. They also help you. Once they've spotted an enemy, they will tell you vocally. Informing you on what type of soldier they are, which direction they are to you, and the distance they are from you. What's cool about this feature, is that not only do they tell you what you may not know, but it's also the tone in which they say it. During a raging battle, they will shout over the gunfire and explosions to inform you of soldiers in a spotted location. But in the day time, whilst you're not in combat, they will just say it normally, with a calm tone.

And finally, my personal favourite. During night time, and most probably on a stealth mission, your squad whisper the locations of enemies to you. It all ties in with your atmosphere, and it really gives the game that realistic feel that CMs are after!

I should also mention that they tell you when a target is eliminated too... And the bad attributes to this feature are that the soldiers tend to repeat themselves continuously. It's a cool feature, but it happens so frequently that it gets old and boring very quickly!

Co-Op and Multiplayer are where the magic of the Single Player gameplay merges into Online, where you face real people across the globe. Suddenly teamwork is essential, and people are making human-choices unlike the Computer AI in Single Player. It'll also be mayhem as the flocks of Tanks, Helicopters, Air Strikes and Bullets come flying at all angles as this game turns into a merge of Battlefield: Bad Company and Call of Duty 4.

Console Gamers will be upset to know that there will only be 8 Humans attending each Online session. The other 24 players will be Computer AI! The AI will be placed equally into each Human Players' squad. This gives Humans the ability to control their Squad like they would during the Single Player - but in Online Multiplayer! This was a decision made by CMs, because they knew they couldn't handle Console Servers holding 32 players without getting a lag issue (much like we saw with Battlefield: Bad Company). Therefore, they used Computer AI to make up for the 24 players that the PC Gamers get. This feature sounds cool, but it also feels kind of lame! It's a bit like Marmite - you're either going to love it - or you're gonna hate it!

Multiplayer throws a few other things into the mix too, like Flares that release visible red smoke which will really add to the teamwork element of the Game. If one of your teammates is in a Chopper, and you are engaging in an extreme battle on foot. Then you can light up a Flare near your (or the enemies) position, so that you can signal where you are. Then, you just lay down suppressing fire, whilst your teammate flies over in his Helicopter, and then clears the area with his Rockets - and possibly a Turrent gunner!

Pure teamwork - that's what this game is all about. Making the player think about their every move! Making teamwork the main tactic for success! No more One-Man-Armies from Call of Duty! You're gonna need every one your 15 other teammates!

PC Gamers can also expect the Mission Editor. An Editor that gives you complete control of the 220 square kilometer Skira Island, and allows you to choose where you spawn, where the enemy spawns, what movement the enemy makes, and what your objective is. You can spawn vehicles, and anything. You set the scenario, and then you drop in and live it! Once you're happy with your mission, you can save it - play the Mission yourself! Or you can share it with your friends - and I'm pretty sure you can upload it to a Dedicated Server. Where other Gamers can find and download your upload, and then try it out for themselves!

So, although there are officially 11 Missions in the Single Player Campaign, PC Gamers can download or create an a ton of Missions, and play them alone - or in Co-Op with their Friends. It's a fantastic feature, returning from the original game, that adds that replayable value to this game! I'd certainly expect some D-Day mission variants!!

Sadly, due to restrictions (much like the Online Multiplayer) the Console Gamers have to miss out on this fun. It's no biggy, though. Because CMs developers have not ruled out adding the Mission Editor to Consoles via Downloadable Content (DLC). And whilst we're on this topic, CMs has already confirmed that they have full intentions to release DLC for both PC and Console. The DLC for the PC will be entirely Free, meanwhile Console players will have a mixed variation of Free DLC, and Priced DLC.

The final thing I'd like to discuss about the game is the delays! I believe this game was first revealed at the E3 Show in 2007! That was the same year that Call of Duty 4 was revealed, and won our hearts! CoD4 came to us that Fall, and the rest is history!

As for Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising? It was given a release date of Summer 2008. But as that time drew closer, the game was completely delayed! I heard nothing until January 2009, which is when we were given a Spring 2009 date! The Trailers became more frequent, and soon that date was pushed all the way back to Summer 2009. An exact year after the original predicted release date!

Finally, a Trailer was released Pre-E3 2009, a whole TWO years since the games first announcement, and this time we were given a Fall 2009 tag. But now the date has been sealed. October 9, 2009. Developer Diary Videos are now being released in quick succession. The game looks near perfection. And if it isn't completed already, then it's being tweaked for the final added touches.

The game has been very tricky for CMs to create. What with all the realistic features, and the effort put into every feature of the game! CMs certainly aren't lazy! They want this game to be just how they pictured it! I'd expect the Game to "go Gold" some time next Week...

I'm not too sure why this is my Most Wanted Game right now, because Halo 3: ODST drops today, and Modern Warfare 2 drops in November. But inbetween those two gems comes this game.

And I personally think this game hits the spot for me! Far Cry 2 was the most excited I'd gotten over a game... Period! I suddenly realised that it was Open World. You can go wherever you want! You're not boxed into corridors that guide you to your destination. It's like your hand is being held every step of the way in Call of Duty!

Far Cry 2 (FC2) allowed you to roam freely, but the storyline was tiresome, and the one-man-army business was slightly disheartening. Mercenaries don't always tend to work alone. And in a crazy place like Africa, you just wouldn't work alone!

This game has alot more spice. The storyline is far more interesting and enjoyable. And the Setting is also better. I know FC2's Africa was beautiful, and the exotic landscapes were great to see...

But this game goes one step further for me. The location looks nice, and it also seems alot more open. FC2's Mountains were un-climbable. This meant that certain areas were difficult to gain access to from "ANY ANGLE" like Ubisoft promised us! In fact, some places - like the Airfield in the Southern Map of FC2 - actually gave you only One route into that place.

Also, FC2 split its impressive 50 square Kilometers into 2 Maps. OF:DR doesn't do this. It's all one island. And it's all accessible at once! And you are no boxed in by Mountains. There are Hills that are ascendable. No questions asked.

So that's Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising! It's a game worth looking at. If it looks like your kind of game - then there's only one thing left for you to do...

Check it out!

I'm sorry this was such a long read, and I really hope you read through everything - because every part of this Blog is important (if you want to know more about this game). Most diehard fans for this game will already know most of this information anyway! In fact, I've been away from the Official Forums for some Months now - and I'm probably behind on most of the latest info!

But to conclude this terribly long blog, I'm going to leave you with embedded videos of every Trailer for OF:DR to date, in the correct order of release:

And there were also some Videos released showing off some juicy gameplay footage of One or Two Missions!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

October = 2009's Most Anticipated Month?

Well, we all know that there are plenty of great annual titles out there. All of EA Sports titles that please Sports fans across the Globe. All the Shooters. And also the rare sequels that take years to put into action.

This year, although you have the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 releasing on November 10th, I personally believe that October is the highly anticipated Month of '09.

Look at the likes of:

Halo 3: ODST
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
PES 10
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010

These are all titles I am personally really looking forward to! And there are fans worldwide who prefer just one of these titles!

But, if you're a fan like me, and you're anticipating all of these great games coming October 2009, then buckle up! Cause it's gonna be one hell of a ride!


Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Ready-Up System

Today, I wish to discuss the very old fashioned, and horrible system that I call the "Ready-Up System".

It's in the Multiplayer side of games, and it's when you join a lobby, and the only way for a game to begin, is via a Ready Up System.

It's where Players have to press a button to announce they're ready. And usually, a game is forbidden to begin until a minimum number of Players have readied up.

This feature was hot back in the older gaming days, but games have come a long way since then. But sadly, we still get those games that choose to keep the system in.

It's a very frustrating system, because there's always that one nooby guy who doesn't want to be ready! And in a game that has died long ago, it's often too difficult to even gain enough players to get the game started.

Now sure, a small one vs one, or maybe a slightly larger game, is not gonna be interesting at all, and probably won't make the cut. But action is action. And most of the new games manage to pit any players together, no strings attached, and you can hit the action instantly.

The old Ready-Up system makes even a recently released game take that extra time to get started, and it does slow down the action and make the game boring.

Should the Ready Up System be axed?

Leave your opinion in the Comments section, below.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Girl Gamer Harrassment

The blog title says it all. When you think of games, you think of Males. One thing that is a rare thought, with gaming ,is Women.

Gaming is one of those hobbies that Women can't seem to get involved with. It's such a male-orientated hobby. But, like most things, Women can't resist that curiosity. Women will always want to know what "it" is all about. A trip down the Pub every Friday night. A Saturday Afternoon watching the "Footy" (That's Soccer for those American readers).

But, because Gaming is also a Nerds hobby, female interaction is as rare on Xbox LIVE - as it is in real life. Well... you may assume it is with most nerdy gamers.

Now the topic I want to discuss today, is the tender topic of women getting harassed on Games. For those girls who try gaming, and like it, their time on Xbox LIVE is full of nerds throwing theirselves to her knees. Otherwise, they're severely cocky and competitive, and threaten them with offensive language, and challenges to one-on-ones. You see, along with not expecting Women to play Games, Men expect them to be horrid at them!

The constant barragement of insults claiming to whoop girls asses at games is quite a pain! They can't get any rest from it! I do disagree with the extra attention paid to girls for playing games. Alot of them probably don't appreciate it. It's something they dont want to be singled out for.

Then, you do have the girls who love the attention. And they also publicise theirselves on being successful. I'm talking about The Frag Dolls and the other popular Girl Gamer Clans that have managed Television, and get sponsered. The question targeted is are they popular and publicised for being Girl Gamers, or for being good?

I think it's a bit of both. But I personally think they gain far too much credit for their success purely because they're Girls.

It's a giant debate that could go on for hours. Please leave a Comment on what you think of Girl Gamers?


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Pressures of being Good!

Well... I've purchased the All Fronts Collection for Gears of War 2, which is worth every penny. Every downloadable Gears 2 map is clever, innovative, and ideal for Gears gameplay.

Most maps have achievements that will make you explore the interesting and testing Horde Mode, meanwhile playing competitively for victory on the Multiplayer.

I personally, have always disliked Gears - for its highly competitive and ultra pathetic gamers, who insist on rolling around and Shotgunning from a click away. Most teams battle for that unfair advantage by grabbing the Boomshot, to pretty much guarantee your unbalanced loss.

However, like a good gamer should, I've tried to get good. But in the mean time, I've had to betray my poor Lancer and Hammerburst, and roll around with a Shotgun. It's such a nooby technique for other games, but the more you play Gears, the more you'll understand that this is classed as skill for this game.

So in conclusion - to my path of becoming successful - the saying "If you can't beat 'em, Join 'em" stays very true to its word!

Now I've completely stepped on how nooby it is to be skilled at Gears, it still doesn't take care of those highly competitive guys who take that extra bullet to kill.

Those extremely frustratingly gifted players, who either defeat you with luck, or just can't seem to make ONE step wrong. It's hard to spot a mistake from a good Gears player - and who knows what sort of pressure that puts them under! All for a game. That's something I've never appreciated since I started gaming on the 360.

I used to be an ultra-competitive loser on Call of Duty 4. I wasn't invincible, but hell I would kill you in a flash, and my K/D would be impressive, and I'd be top of the Leaderboards every time. I stopped playing COD4 eventually, and it was better off that I did. Because I felt the pressure of never faltering, and making mistakes was something I couldn't bare. Eventually, it became apparent that I was putting too much effort into winning a game of Call of Duty 4, than completing some GCSE Coursework!

I noticed my pathetic self, fighting for dominance in a game. It's enjoyable to get lost into the world of gaming. Being the best, and knowing that you are successful at something. But the reality of that World, is that you're not gaining anything from it. Other than a little self-pride.

After reflecting on the peaceful Halo 3 days, when my friends and I mucked around for hours on end, playing Infection on Sandtrap - I had an epiphany. I realised that I'd forgotten the true mark of gamings purpose - the aspect of fun.

So now, playing for fun is what I do. I'm still having a competitive streak at being successful, but only in games where you are forced to. Gears 2 is one of those. Where playing the happy-go-lucky-noob means you'll just die every time - and eventually the fun aspect dies with you.

So try having fun next time! It's nearly impossible to have fun on Xbox LIVE Ranked Matches - due to the competitive streak of those dominant players who insist on following that old success-makes-me-feel-good route.

So try a few Private Matches with friends! Forget rank! Forget success! Forget winning!

Focus on having fun. Being successful is enjoyable, but having fun whilst you're there is even better!


Monday, 24 August 2009

Welcome to my World

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I'm an Xbox 360 gamer. My Xbox LIVE Gamertag is ell635. I'm an average gamer, perhaps skilled higher than average, and my determination with gaming is to have fun, be one of the best, and get as many achievements along the way.

I'm a genuine gamer, I don't fight for pure dominance, resulting in my enemy having no advantage. I like to play with skill, and like most gamers I like to win.

Another thing I like, other than gaming, is writing. And combining the two, for me, is one of the most enjoyable hobbies I could have. Therefore, this blog is going to be the start of something cool. A blog about games I play, what I've played. How I play. And I'll also be discussing interesting points, like new Downloadable Content I've purchased, and new Games I want, or have.

This is going to be the home of everything gaming, and much more. If you're just as interested as I am in this, then please Follow this blog, and keep checking back for my latest blogs. Tell your friends too, if you think they will be interested.

The only thing that could make this whole blogging experience better - would be if I built a fanbase of opinionated, supportive and outspoken gamers, who would read my blogs, and not be afraid to comment about what I've written, or to add their opinion.

I'll get things started later today, where I will be talking about the Xbox 360 exclusive, Gears of War. I have recently purchased the All Fronts Pack DLC, and will be giving my impressions on it, as well as both Gears 1 and Gears 2. Stick around.