Emo Ray Vs. The Intergalactic Teddy Bears

by Burbie52, HSM team writer 

Heavy Water is one of Home’s oldest and most respected developers. In the years since Home’s creation, they have brought us a wide variety of content in their signature dark, edgy style. From the coveted Chamber Apartment to Avalon Keep, from a huge variety of tattoos to Peeps in multiple varieties, they have always been known for stepping out into uncharted territory in virtual commodities. Now they are also showing us that they have a sense of humor by bringing us one of the most unique and innovative games ever to hit the Home front: Emo Ray VS. The Intergalactic Teddy Bears.

The first time I heard about this game I laughed out loud.

The game is the first of its kind in Home, and the first full-blown game that Heavy Water has created. It doesn’t use your avatar, but instead transforms you into the character — Emo Ray — launching from a new public space created just for this purpose. This single-player game is a third-person shooter that involves racing around a city in your souped-up van, killing alien teddy bears as you try to rescue the love of your life along with a few friends and others you meet along the way. The game is rendered in comic-book shades of black, white and red. This gives the game a feel that will be totally different from anything else in Home. It reminds me of the movie/comic Sin City, which was produced with the same colors and has the same urban, gritty feel. That alone will set this game apart from anything else in Home.

The game further resembles a comic book by being released in a series of volumes — basically chapters of an ongoing storyline. Each volume contains four chapters, and will require one to two hours of play time to complete it. New story segments will be released every two months. There is a free two-part tutorial when you first enter the game, which lasts approximately twenty minutes. Once this is done, there is an action mode that allows one hour of free-play driving and shooting bears before the game locks down and becomes pay-to-play. The initial purchase not only unlocks the game, but includes a personal space, a full avatar costume of Emo Ray for both male and female, and a boom box with one song from the game. It is a very good buy, in my opinion.

The initial purchase price is $9.99. Side missions will cost $2.99 apiece, and the second volume release will cost $7.99. I would imagine all of the continuing volumes and side missions will be priced similarly.

The boom box is going to be an interesting new product, because as you finish each section of the game it will add a new song to play in Home. By the end of the two volumes, eight chapters and associated side quests, there will be a total of five songs in the box’s repertoire. The music is all original work from a band in California named So Long Davey.

There is a scoring system involved called mod points, which are used to buy upgrades within the game. This will give the game a lot of replayability, as you hone your scoring skills — you can replay each chapter to get a better score. As you improve, you earn more mod points, which you can use to buy upgrades for weapons and other items. There is also a time feature that will prevent people from just camping in one spot and making easy kills to boost their leader-board scores. After a period of time in one place you will no longer earn any points at all!

There is also built-in dialogue to help move the story along, something that I have never before seen in a Home game. So far, most of the games we’ve had in Home are avatar-based, and the only chatting is our own. In this game, you rescue people and bring them back to a safe house type of space. Once rescued, they will stay there and talk to you about events in the story line if you walk up to them, just like NPCs in disc-based video games. Not only that, the NPCs will occasionally pop up during play in text bubbles and say things to you about what is happening. This type of game is a totally new idea for the Home scene.

In-between the volume releases, Heavy Water plans to sell add-on packs for extra missions and side questing. Each side mission will add approximately an hour of game-play, and will grant associated rewards as well. There will be two side mission packs in between each main storyline volume. The side quests will not affect the story, but will add depth to the gaming experience, just like they do in regular disc-based games.

As for the reward hunters out there,  there will be plenty for you here as well. The rewards range range from clothing items to furniture, as well as those unlockable songs for the boombox. All will be themed to suit the game and its personal space.

For a first game, I have to say that Heavy Water has really made a huge splash into the Home gaming pool with this one. I am really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us as the game progresses into the next chapters. I hope that the community supports them in this effort, so we can all continue to have fun killing those bloodthirsty teddy bears for a long time to come.

CAUTION: Do not alter your PS3’s DNS Settings

By NorseGamer, HSM Editor-in-Chief

In the last week, two of my friends have approached me with two rather wild claims:

Claim #1:Want to get real music via your Playground Boombox in your personal spaces?

Claim #2:Want to bypass the profanity censor in text chat?

Both claims carry the same instructions, which involve entering a new DNS number (exact instructions and DNS number edited from original post so that no one actually goes and does it).

IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DO NOT DO THIS. SUCH AN ACTION IS POTENTIALLY VERY, VERY DANGEROUS.

Here’s what it means if you change your PS3’s DNS settings: it means that whomever is running that computer can forward any website you visit to them. (Imagine what might happen if you visited, say, PayPal, for instance.) It’s worth noting that one of my two friends who tried this has already experienced significant problems with her Home account.

I grew suspicious when the first friend of mine told me about this. I then became worried when the second friend, completely unrelated, shared the same info with me, albeit with a different sales pitch. If you are told about some cool new trick or exploit which involves manually altering your PS3’s settings — particularly anything to do with the internet — you might want to know what you’re exposing yourself to first.

Look…I know it’s cool to fancy oneself a “hacker” or have access to some cool feature that seems innocuous enough at first glance. But use your brains for a moment: everything comes with a price tag, and ignorance of how the internet works is no defense against someone who might be out to maliciously attack you electronically.

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