FIFA 16 – Tips for winning the FUT draft

FUT Draft is easily the most addictive addition to this years FIFA. I’ve had over 25 entries and I still come back again and again with the same excitement. I absolutely adore the team building and getting to use a purple Ronaldo or an orange Suarez really is a luxury. In those entries I’ve had some success, I’ve made the final at least 10 times and I’ve manage to win it here and there. So here’s some tips I’ve picked up that will hopefully help you secure those 50 and 100k packs.

433 would be my choice here

433 Defend would be my choice here

5. Pick a 4 back formation

It may seem like common sense but you need security in your back four. With the high level cards you’re going to come up against, a solid defense is essential. However don’t go 5 at the back. This year 5atb back is easily the worst it’s ever been. The way passing works, picking 5atb is pretty much a death sentence. You’ll be trapped in your own half and be thrown out in the first round with nothing to show for it.

4. Pick a formation with wingers

You get a ton of wingers in the draft. Plenty of times I’ve had to leave an IF Reus or IF Di Maria unused because I’ve got so many options. If you pick a formation without wingers you’re probably going to struggle to get the best team possible. While Ronaldo is obviously brilliant as a super sub, you want him to be starting if possible.

3. Flood the midfield

The midfield is the most important section in any team in FIFA. To maintain possession and to avoid being overwhelmed you need bodies in the midfield. I’d recommend you pick a formation with 3 or 4 central midfielders. Avoid 41212(2) and the like because you end up with the CDM being the only protection and the midfield gets too split apart.

2. Build the first 11 first.

A lot of players like to start with the bench, but in the times I’ve tried that I always end up messing up with my chemistry. The fact of the matter is that until you’ve started putting in your crucial players (the front 3 and back 4 mainly) you don’t know what team you’re building into. You don’t want 3 half teams that falls apart at the first attack and you don’t want to be forced to play Mertersacker because you choose to take a Sterling when you didn’t need him.

If you have this suarez on the bench wait for the right time to sub him on!

1. Save your super subs until the 60th minute

I know the temptation is there to use all your superstars as soon as the game starts but honestly it is a waste. The likes of Sturridge, Benzema, Vela etc really are fine and can do a job. Then when the second half wears on and the legs get tired, that’s the time to bring out the big guns and finish off your opponent. This becomes especially vital if the game goes to extra time.

I hope these tips helped and let me know in the comments down below what your tips are for winnign the draft.

P.S. Save your rewards for Team of the Season coming in 2 weeks!

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Star Wars: Battlefront – The Good and The Bad

I’ve had Star Wars: Battlefront for a good few weeks now and I’ve put a decent number of hours into it. I bought the game because it looked fun, I wasn’t swayed by the reviews and so I came into it with an open mind. The allure of the Star Wars universe combined with DICE gameplay was just too hard to resist.

Online only has never put me off. It’s the nature of gaming these days and I’d rather effort go into a complete and complex multiplayer than a half-arsed campaign with a poor story.

So here’s my thoughts on what’s been good and what’s been bad in Star Wars: Battlefront

Bad – The Maps

The maps are beautifully construction, large and diverse. The problem is that there’s just too few of them. Within a few hours they quickly get repetitive. DICE really needs to pull a finger out and put new maps in the game and they needs to be free. For an online-only game not to have enough map variety is unforgivable.

Good – Atmosphere

This is genuine Star Wars. The sound of the game is fantastic. Blaster ping around your ears, AT-AT tower and crush from above, druids beep and zip around. The graphics are also some of the best you’ll find in an online game. It’s so much more satisfying stepping into Han Solo’s shoes knowing you have those signature Harrison Ford good looks.

Bad – Unlockables

DICE have really let the side down again with this one. Now I’m not looking for Call of Duty level of tinkering, but the share lack of blaster options is really awful. On top of that for some strange reason cosmetic upgrades are more expensive than weapons or powerups. Why do I want to be paying so much for a mustache? It’d doesn’t make sense! What you end with unfortunately is every avatar looking the same, which makes sense because they’re clones, but really takes away a uniqueness from the experience.

The excellent character models.

The excellent character models.

Good – Hero/Villain Characters

Stepping into the shoes of Darth Vader has never been so badass. The Hero and Villain characters really add a different dynamic to the FPS gameplay. Cutting down foe after foe with light saber and force-choke is incredibly satisfying and rare enough to be a brilliant deviation when you’re lucky enough to discover the power-up, and only an occasional inconvenience when you run into these supermen.

Bad – Flight Combat

This is another disappointment because I really liked the idea of long TIE-Fighter / X-Wing battles. Unfortunately flight combat is unresponsive and just not fun. It’s also very difficult to do damage to anything on the ground. The majority of my flight kills came from suicide crashes which I’m sure is not what DICE intended. Take a look at Warhawk to see how to do good aircraft combat.

Good – Modes

There is a great variety of modes to play in this game from the 40 player back and forth mayhem of Supremacy to the intense, last man standing style of Hero Hunt. There really is something for everyone and you’ll have a different experience every time you play.

That’s a quick summary of my thoughts. What have you made of Star Wars: Battlefront let me know in the comments down below.

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The Best £5 I’ve ever spent

I’ve never owned a Music and Rhythm game. Well not one involving these new fangled peripherals. My last proper music game was the legendary PaRappa the Rapper on the PS1. I loved that game and I’ve been known throw some crazy shapes upon a Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine, but despite that, it’s been a while since I’ve brought these skills into my own home.

Speaking of PaRappa the Rapper click this image to hear the greatest remix the internet has ever produced!

That’s not to say I haven’t wanted to join in the craze. I’ve looked on enviously to the generations of Guitar Hero and Rock Band players but I could never justify spending £100+ on one single game, even if it is brilliant. Well just a week ago as I was surveying a local charity shop for books, my girlfriend alerted me to a lovely little piece of plastic that sat in the corner. A turntable! Except it wasn’t a turntable, well it was but it wasn’t! It had buttons that my XBOX 360 has! It was the DJ Hero controller for the all time low price of £2.99! I thanked my lucky stars and quickly ran out the store before any one realised the catastrophic error they had made selling such a precious commodity for such a low price.

Forged in the black fire of Activision. One turntable to rule them all

Forged in the black fires of Activision. One turntable to rule them all

As fun as it was spinning the decks and terribly beatboxing to a crowd of pigeons while I waited for the bus, I realised I needed the game itself to go with it. I took a trip to evil empire GAME and purchased DJ Hero 1 and 2 for a collected price of £3! Another steal! (The sharp-eyed among you may realised that £3 and £3 adds up to £6 and not £5 as falsely advertised in the title but we’ll keep that to ourselves ;))

The game itself is everything I hoped. It’s addictive and rewarding fun. The music (which happens to feature a number of my favourite artists including Daft Punk and 2pac) is absolutely fantastic and it really adds that competitiveness as you play to do justice to the song you’re featuring. There’s little niggles and annoyances with the game and there’s no better way to develop a good old-fashioned case of RSI but for that price the hours on entertainment I’ve already got is unbeatable.

What’s the best £5 you’ve ever spent? Let me know in the comments down below and thanks for reading!

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Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley Review

Bryan Lee O’Malley’s first graphic novel Lost at Sea was quite a disappointment to me. I’m a big fan of O’Malley as an author, Scott Pilgrim is obviously a hipsters bible and his most recent effort Seconds is brilliant in its time travelling philosophy. But while Lost at Sea has the same charm as those two novels which comes from O’Malley’s very distinctive and charming art style, the story for me felt too soppy with little real substance.

Lost at Sea is a coming-of-age romantic drama about an 18-year old girl named Raleigh. The story follows Raleigh on a road trip back home to Vancouver with 4 school friends she barely knows after visiting her boyfriend in California. During this trip she has an existential crisis believing her soul is trapped in the form of  a cat.

There is some quality to the story and moments that I resonated with but overall I got the sense that O’Malley was trying to hard to be emotionally moving. It all felt a bit too over the top for me. Raleigh examinations of herself feel genuine but bar that it didn’t feel anything other than typical teenage awakening. She’s becoming aware of herself in love and in independence but that’s not really interesting or unique enough. The questions she asks are questions most teenagers will ask at that age, but being that it is long in the past for me it just tended to become monotonous and droning.

We don’t really get long enough to particularly like Raleigh or her accomplices on this road trip so I definitely feel that had an effort on my ability to empathise with her. The humour in the novel was also hit and miss for me which was unexpected from an O’Malley novel.

Overall it feels very much like this was a first draft. A good first attempt and a glimpse at what was to come but nothing more than that. If you haven’t read it you aren’t missing out so I’d only recommend for those that are diehard fans or for those that really like O’Malley’s artistic style.

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Black Mass Review

A stylised showcase of violence

Black Mass is interesting. I think that’s the word that perfectly sums up the film. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and his rise to crime kingpin of Boston captures and keeps your attention throughout the film though the narrative structure lets down this otherwise excellent film.

Johnny Depp is absolutely terrifying in the lead role. His performance is an absolutely masterclass and every minute he’s on-screen he is the focus of the attention. The film has you constantly attempting to read him. Read the subtle clues in his behaviour, trying to predict that moment that his nature changes and he explodes into a barrage of violence. The performance of his co-stars are also excellent with Rory Cochrane as Bulger’s second in command, Steve Flemmi, being the stand out for me.

The violence in the film is visceral and hard to watch at times. The reality of the story and the performances really bring this home and as the credit wash over you I wouldn’t be surprised to see many feeling sick. A big compliment for the film is that it feels real, the portrayal of the events feels accurate and has weight too it. Unfortunately I feel like that is the films downfall as well. It feels more like a documentary then a piece of entertainment. There is very few redeeming characters in the film, no ‘good guys’ just evil men, corruption, crime, greed and not much of anything else.

The film struggles with its pacing and this definitely lets it down. At times it’s hard to follow, there’s no clear building of intensity, the relationship between Bulgar and childhood friend and FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is disjointed, the relationship shifts between fearful complaince and willing support very quickly and escalates without any real explanation. Ultimately their relationship is underdeveloped. Many aspects of the film felt underdeveloped and it leaves you slightly confused about how this monster was wrought.

One of the things particularly under explored was Bulgar’s mental state. The film hints at Bulgar’s time in prison and his participation in the MK-Ultra program where Bulgar was subjected to experiements with LSD by the CIA in their research on mind-control but it is a small aside. It’d probably take another three hours to explore that time in bulgar’s life but I’d have still liked to see more time spent exploring the potential effects this (and other things like the death of his child) had on Bulgar’s psychology.

In the end though the story is simply too interesting to let the weaknesses of the narrative distract. You’ll leave wanting to know more about this fascinating psychopath.

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Fallout 4: Becoming the Silver Shroud

I’ve played around 20 hours of Fallout 4 and not yet discovered that moment that goes down in legend. The finding a value full of Gary’s or a passionate talking tree. I’m really loving the game but I still felt I was missing that key moment. Well I’m glad to say I finally found that moment as I stepped into the shoes of the Silver Shroud

It all started when I made my way into a quaint little village called Goodneighbour. After almost being extorted and witnessing a brutal murder I found my way towards the ‘Memory Den’. You’ll go there for the excellent main quest ‘Dangerous Minds’ but if you happen to stray off the beaten path into a small room on the right hands side of the hall you might run into a delightful little ghoul fellow by the name of Kent Connolly.

Two things may strike you about Kent. 1. His love for the fictional superhero the Silver Shroud and 2. He appears to be somewhat “special”. His passion for the Silver Shroud immediately endeared Kent to me and I was more than happy to accept his request of me to go and fetch the legendary Silver Shroud costume from within the Dorito-encrusted depths of ‘Hubris Comics’. I rather naively felt this would be a quick fetch and deliver quest so I felt no anxiety in hopping on my merry way.

After fighting through a horde of garish ghouls and one very menacing glowing one I

Faithful Kent - look at him in his lovely suit and hat affair

Faithful Kent – look at him in his lovely suit and hat affair

retrieved the fabled costume and returned to wee Kent (Not before experimenting with the sights and sound of the stage I found in Hubris Comics. Boy was it a sight to behold).

Only upon talking to Kent did I realise that my support for him would not end there. To my horror I found myself agreeing to take up the mantle of the Silver Shroud and with my faithful companion Kent, assisting me by radio, I brought shift justice to the streets of Goodneighbour. Unfortunately this took the form of some brutal vigilante murders, which the comics never truly seem to portray.

For me and Kent this lead us down a very deep tunnel of mass murder unfitting of the name of the Silver Shroud. This eventually culminated in poor Kent’s kidnapping. I vowed that after my rescue of Kent I would never again put on this harrowed cape.

To my disappointment I wasn’t actually able to save poor Kent, as when I stormed into the room in which he was held, he was almost instantly ragdolled by a hail of bullets I could do little about. I did however proceed to take powerful revenge and a handy bit of looting before putting one of my most memorable moments in gaming behind me…

What has been your favourite Fallout 4 moment so far? Let me know in the comments down below


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Short thoughts 6: Fallout 4, Black Ops 3 and 100 Years of Solitude

It’s been about a week since my last post, which is unusual for me as I try to get a least 3 pieces of content out a week. I do apologise for this break and I would like to say it was because I was swimming with sharks in Sri Lanka (Do they have sharks in Sri Lanka?) or providing George Clooney with fashion advice, but the reality is that I’ve gotten too stuck into games. I’ve done so much playing that I haven’t found time to think, nevermind write. Anyway enough rambling, here is a couple of items that have flooded my mind this past week.

Fallout 4

The addiction is real. I’ve waited a good 5 years for this game. I liked Skyrim a lot, but I’m always a Fallout guy. I prefer the world, the characters and the game as a whole. As soon as I got the game I was right back where I wanted to be. Maybe this is a complaint for some, but for me Bethesda have done brilliantly with Fallout 4. It is more of the same with just enough fresh ideas to discover new things on every session.

Dogmeat is still my best friend, the feral ghouls still freak me out till no end, my God, it is just so great to be back. War… War never changes.

Black Op 3

I deliberated a long time over getting this game. I still like COD a lot, but I find myself playing the latest editions less and less every year. I got it in the end and I am glad I did because I know I’ll get at least 20 hours out of it, which is worth the admission. I’ve having quite a lot of fun with the wall running mechanics and a Treyarch Zombie mode will always keep me coming back.

I also really like the little unlockables they add each year. With the addition of the character loadouts this year, they’ve added another level of customization which I much prefer to Advanced Warefare’s style. COD for me is still on a downward spiral but there’s still life in the old dog yet.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

When I haven’t been glued to the PS4, I actually managed to get a bit of reading done. This week I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. A seminal piece and really a fantastic magic realism novel. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with magic realism. On the one hand it produces some of the most beautiful imagery in literature and on the other it sure does make a novel difficult to follow. This is definitely the case for One Hundred Years of Solitude (especially because a lot of the characters share names in the novel) but I did feel it was easier to intake than some of its contemporaries.

The first half of the novel is some of the most engrossing reading I’ve ever done, though I did feel it lost some of its steam the further down the family line you went. But there is nothing out there quite like it, so it is definitely recommended.

That’s all for today? Have you played Fallout 4 or Black Ops 3? Perhaps you’ve read 100 Years of Solitude? Let me know in the comments down below!

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