Monday, December 31, 2018

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon (PC) Review

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is a standalone DLC for Far Cry 3. The story and presentation are an homage to the glorious 80s and 90s Hollywood action movies.

Gameplay wise there is nothing very innovative here. It's very competent. Where the game shines, is in the presentation,and dialogue. When it comes to parody, there is a fine line between goodhearted fun and being disrespectful to the source material. Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon manages to not cross that line, which is a compliment to the good writing.

I am not going to waste time critiquing the game any longer. This is one of the most fun games I have played in a long time. I got this as a part of the Far Cry Franchise Pack on Steam for $9.99, and it's well worth the price.

Verdict - Must Play

Hard Reset (PC) Review

I recommend this game for the price I paid for it - $1 as a part of the a Humble Bundle deal.

Hard Reset was supposed to be an homage to the old school FPS games, but there are several design choices that prevent the game from reaching its potential.

The visuals are fantastic and they are by far the best aspect of the game. It played extremely well on a 21:9 ultrawide monitor without any problems, which is great considering this game was released in 2012.

Pretty much everything else is a step back, and could use some improvement.

Soundtrack is a fairly generic, and it ramps up when there are enemies. Enemies don’t seem to make any noise during movement, and I often found myself getting attacked from behind and there was absolutely no sound to indicate that there were enemies flanking.

Weapon system is needlessly complicated. Instead of giving the player a shotgun, rocket launcher etc., the game only has two weapons, a C.L.N weapon and an N.R.G weapon. A shotgun is a weapon mode of C.L.N weapon, and a railgun is a weapon mode of N.R.G weapon. So if the player wants to quickly switch between a shotgun and a railgun, it takes two button presses (equip the N.R.G weapon, and switch to the railgun mode) instead of one, and in the heat of combat, that is enough to get the player kill. This is change for the sake of change. There was no need to improve upon the conventional weapon system, the reason begin, it was tried and tested over the years, and this awful system adds nothing but busywork.

The difficulty in this game primarily comes from large enemy numbers, poor movement mechanics and awful reload/recharge times for weapons. I would be fine with there being a large number of enemies if the movement was smooth and the weapons reloaded at a “normal” rate.  As it stands, this leads to frustration and not fun.

In 2012, there aren’t as many shooters with similar gameplay. In 2018, there are many excellent shooters in this sub genre, such as the Wolfenstein, Doom (2016). Play those first, and if you are still not satiated, then pick up this game for less than $5.

Verdict - Excellent visuals, frustrating gameplay. Pick it up on deep discount.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Corsair H60 Review

On Friday (10/5/2018), I came home from a long day at work, and wanted to play some games. I started Battlefield 1, and I notice that the game was stuttering. I take a look at the temperature, and notice that the CPU (i7 6700k) was running at 90C.

I have a Corsair H50 AIO. I went through all kinds of troubleshooting. Applied new thermal paste, made sure the cooler was seated properly, and it made no difference. The CPU would idle at around 60C, and reach 90C+ during gaming.

After hours of troubleshooting, I concluded that the cooler wasn’t working.

I didn’t want the entire weekend to go to waste by buying another cooler online, and waiting for it to be shipped here. I did something I never thought I would do - go to BestBuy.

I went online, and found that the Corsair H60 was available at my local store. Ordered it right away, and went to the store to pick it up. I watched an installation video first, and I realized that this cooler was much better than the H50 in terms of installation. This is because the backplate has standoff screws, and doesn’t rely solely on adhesive to keep it in place like the H50 does.

Mounting the cooler is also a very simple task because the mounting bracket easily locks the heatsink in place. Overall, very happy with the H60 so far. The temperatures are fantastic.

Running Prime95, I am getting around 50C with 100% CPU load.

Total price paid - $76.11 (exactly the same as I would have paid on Amazon)

Verdict - Recommended.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mad Max (PC) Review

Mad Max is a third person, open world, action game developed by Avalanche Studios (the studio behind the excellent Just Cause series), and published by Warner Bros. (Batman,  series). 

Mad Max incorporates a lot of open world staples. The developers have their own take on the tower climbing mechanic, where towers are now replaced by hot air balloons, which reveal the activities on a certain section of the map. There are plenty of markers on the map, and tons of different kind of side quests that will keep players busy, especially those determined to complete each area. 

Some consider this to be a lot of gameplay padding, and there are things the game does where this criticism is justified. There are times when I absolutely felt that the combat, and the bases are getting repetitive. However, by and large, the game manages to be entertaining. 

The part that I felt was rather boring is the leveling up mechanic for Max, that they felt was needed. To begin with, it is not possible to just access a menu and level up your character. You need to drive to a random location, and talk to a certain person to be able to level up. This is very tedious. The leveling up itself grants abilities that make very little sense. For example, there is a skill that will make the Magnum Opus consume less fuel. Shouldn't this be an upgrade for the car? Anyhow, I thought these skills were poorly implemented.

Another aspect that I did not enjoy was the lack of inventory. It is not possible to carry melee weapons outside of combat. This means that Max needs to find a weapon each time before a fight, and he will promptly drop it on the ground when getting into the car after the fight is over. Also, the durability of melee weapons (like clubs, shovels etc.) is a skill. How does Max have any control over how durable a random object in the world is? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lack of an inventory also means that you can't carry food, and you have to scavenge for it in the game world. Anytime the player interacts with a can of food, Max drops the melee weapon he is holding. After the animation is done, you will have to pick up the melee weapon again. This is an extremely annoying mechanic.

The controls are a little weird. There is a separate button (E) to interact with objects in the game world, but a completely different button (R) to get into vehicles, and an entirely different button (F) to fuel the car. All these could have been consolidated to a single button based on the context. The character also is a little sluggish to control. Unlike Just Cause and Batman, there is a perceptible lag between activating an action, and the character responding to it. This is not game breaking, but its very noticeable.

Combat is very much like Batman. I dont mind it, but it essentially boils down to mashing the attack button (LMB), and hitting the parry button (RMB) at the right time. The sluggish controls do impact the combat somewhat, but it is still fun for the most part. It does get frustrating when the game decides to throw a wave of enemies at the player in an enclosed area. At this point, the camera gets into really bad angles which can get the player killed.

Driving is a lot fun, and the cars handle really well for the most part. The wide open world is a lot of fun to drive in. Desert world could have been very bland, but the designers managed to make it unique and also traversing the world in the vehicle is still fun. There is a lot of freedom to be had here in each area, and plenty of activities like freeing enemy strongholds, destroying convoys etc.

The story is interesting enough. I liked the characters, but other than Chumbucket, there is nothing unique here. Its all rather predictable, but not to the point where I found the story boring. There are certain story missions that get frustrating, but by and large the pacing was good.

Some of the side quests are a lot fun, especially chasing and destroying the convoys, or freeing up some enemy strongholds.The game received negative criticism when it was released because of the number of repetitive side quests. I can understand why someone might feel this way, especially because this seems a lot like the UbiSoft open world design. However, most of the activities are fun enough, and because Max levels up fast enough, I didn't need to finish a lot of them to progress through the story.

I had a lot of fun with Mad Max, and I think its a very solid open world game.

Price paid - $4.99

+ Vehicle combat
+ Well designed open world
+ Chumbucket
+ Driving
- Slugging controls on the ground
- Lack of inventory
- Repetitive melee combat
Verdict - Recommended

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PC) Review

Hearts of Stone is the first expansion to The Witcher 3. The game is set in the same world as the main game, specifically in the north eastern part of Novigrad.

There is quite a bit of new content here, but the highlight of this expansion is the story. This may be the best expansion to a video game I have ever played.

With the Game of The Year edition, I had the option to start the expansion with a default level 30 character, but I waited till I finished the main story to play the expansions. At least a level 30 character is recommended for the expansion, and by the end of the main story, I was well past that.

The expansion has simple beginnings. It starts with a contract to kill a monster in the sewers of Oxenfurt, but it soon opens up into a fantastic adventure with excellent characters and well written dialog. I can’t really discuss the story without going to spoiler territory, but suffice to say those that enjoy good writing and storytelling are likely to enjoy this expansion a lot.

There are a couple of main quests which I found comparatively boring, but the game picks up very quickly, and ends with a superb conclusion. Often times I found myself unsatisfied with game endings, especially in RPGs (case in point, Mass Effect 3). That is not the case with Hearts of Stone. It has one of the best endings in video games I have ever played.

There are many little story details scattered throughout the game, and for those that have the time and the inclination, there is a lot of replay value. Its not just fan service either. Re-watching some of the cut-scenes made realize the effort that went into telling this story. There are some excellent analysis videos on YouTube, that will do a far better job at explaining the story. Speaking of value, I got this game as a part of the GOTY bundle on GOG for $19.99. This bundle includes the main game, and the two expansions. I can't think of a better deal for RPG fans. I typically do not recommend paying full price for games, but The Witcher 3 and its expansions are well worth the money.

The expansion also introduces new enemy types, which are much harder than the ones found in the base game. Some of the same kind of enemies that exist in the base game are now much higher level comparatively. I once wandered into the north east side of the map, and ran into level 30 enemies. I was used to dealing with them effortlessly in the main game, but I ended up getting killed, and then whats I realized I wandered into the expansion territory, which opened up a whole new set of side quests.

I would absolutely replay this expansion a few times over, if it weren't for the spiders.

+ Excellent Story
+ Great Endings
+ Interesting Characters
+ Superb Value For Money

- Spiders

Verdict - Must Play

Friday, June 1, 2018

Bootstrap Glyphicon Not Rendering ("empty box")

If you are not using a CDN link for the bootstrap library, you might find yourself in a situation where using glyphicon on your page might not work, and all you see is an empty box in place.

Glyphicon does not render

One reason for this could be because the paths for the fonts resource is not setup correctly.

If using the CDN link provided on the bootstrap website is not an option, then ensure that the directory looks like this -

Directory structure

Then, include the path to bootstrap.css in the HTML file.

Link to bootstrap.css in the html document

Reload the page in the browser, and that should load the glyphicon.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Witcher 3 (PC) Review

My experience with Witcher games began 9 years after the release of the first game. I played The Witcher in November 2016 and I followed up immediately with The Witcher 2. I would have started playing Witcher 3 right after, but I did not own the game. In November 2017, it went on sale, on, and I purchased the GOTY edition for $19.99.

I spent a little over 300 hours playing the main game. This is by far the most time I spent on a single player game. I remember reading some articles leading up to the release of Witcher 3 that this game is going to have a lot of content. I thought it might be filler, and to a small extent this is true, but by and large, I was entertained enough to complete all the side quests in all areas.

Dynamic weather

Performance throughout the game has been excellent. Since I played on the PC, I had the luxury of upgrading my hardware and installing mods.

I started playing this game with my MSI GeForce GTX 1080. The game looked absolutely beautiful. However, at 1440p, I was not able to keep a steady 60FPS with all settings on high. On MSI GeForce 1080Ti, the game was running at well over 60FPS with all settings on high, and there were hardly any dips. It was an amazing experience. This is the best looking RPG I have ever played. I did not play Skyrim yet, so it remains to be seen if Skyrim manages to look better than Witcher 3.

Beauty of The Witcher 3

I felt that the developers created a fantastic world, and exploration, which is something I enjoy a lot, is rewarded in the game. For the most part, I enjoyed the main quests and side quests. Given the number of side quests, not all of them are going to be excellent, there are some fetch quests here and there, but even some of the most mundane side quests are voice acted, and they make a very sincere attempt to entertain and engage the player. Dynamic weather has a big positive impact on immersion. This combined with the excellent audio make the gameplay experience so much better.

Voice acting and dialogue are excellent for the most part. It got predictable towards the end. The final parts of the main quest felt weak in comparison. The endings were excellent, but the quests leading up to it felt boring to me.

There are some mods that make life a lot easier, such as the auto loot mod. The fast travel mod is also handy, but it is best to exercise caution when using it because it can break quests. It is useful when exploring for hidden treasures etc, but do not using when doing any quests, especially when indoors.

I thought the combat was excellent compared to the previous games, especially compared to Witcher 1. I do not like how signs have to be equipped before they can be cast...I do not understand the reasoning behind this. There is a mod that will change how this works, but I never installed it because this wasn't a huge issue. The crossbow controls are awful. After every shot, Geralt puts away the crossbow, and its tedious to put the bolt in place and the middle mouse button needs to be held down to take aim.

Horse riding is another mechanic that is not fully fleshed out. Holding down shift would make the run, and to make the horse sprint, you would have to double tap and hold Shift. There are plenty of keys on the keyboard that can accomplish this without resorting to the double tap nonsense. Slashing at enemies when on horseback feels sluggish. I am still glad for the addition of the horse in the game, given how big the game world is.

In conclusion, The Witcher 3 is the best open world RPG I have played to this date. I would still rate the story of the original Deus Ex higher than this, but the gameplay experience of Witcher 3 has surpassed Deus Ex.

+ Excellent open world
+ Smooth combat
+ Fun side quests
+ Beautiful visuals
+ Great soundtrack

- Horse controls
- Crossbow controls
- End game is not as fun

Veridct - Must Play

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Setting Up A Simple Website Using Tomcat & Namecheap

In this post, I will share the steps I used to create a very simple website using Tomcat webserver, and Namecheap DNS.

Web server configuration

1. Download the latest tomcat.

  • The version in this case is 9.0.6

2. Create the following directory –


3. Paste the tomcat package directory inside the MyWebsites directory

4. Rename the package to the directory name of the website

This directory will serve the website

5. Download jdk -

This step is not necessary depending on how java is installed on the machine. I prefer deploy java in this manner.

6. Deploy jdk in the following directory –

Java directory

7. Create setenv.bat file and place it in the \bin directory. Specify the java home in the file.


8. Create an index.html file and drop it in the following directory –


9. Run the startup.bat in the \bin directory

Running startup.bat will show the environment variables

10. Access localhost:8080 in the browser


Router Configuration

1. Gather the internal IP address of the machine that is running the tomcat server –


2. Open the router configuration page and find the port forwarding settings. This can be typically accessed at

3. Add a new rule for forwarding http traffic to port 8080

Port forwarding

4. Go to

5. Type in the port and click on the Check Port button

Port status

Namecheap host record configuration

1. Go to and take note of the external IP address (also known as the WAN IP)

2. Go to Advanced DNS configuration

3. In the host records section, create the following:

  • Type: A record; Host: @; Value: <external-ip>; TTL: Automatic
  • Type: URL Redirect Record; Host: www; Value: http://<domain>:8080 Masked META (We use this record because will be redirected, and “work” in the browser)

Host records

The record for the wildcard exists for creating virtual hosts in Tomcat, which I will cover in a later document.

Problems I encountered

I have a Netgear C6300BD, and the router is running Firmware Version V2.05.18

It turns out that this particular router does not support loopback functionality, therefore when you have port forwarding setup, accessing http://<external-ip>:8080 does not work from within the network.

The best to test if the setup is working is by accessing your website from outside the network, and the most convenient way to do this is through a mobile device with.