Total War: Shogun 2 – Learning While Bleeding.

I’ve slowly immersed myself into the world of the Samurai as of late. Steam, once again, had my number and that number was $7.50, the great sales price for Total War: Shogun 2 [TWS2]. The Total War series involves large map, turn based, micromanagement of settlements/city states and beautifully detailed real-time game play of large scale battles involving hundreds, if not thousands, of units at once. Like most of the Total War games, developed by The Creative Assembly and published by SEGA, it is full of information pertaining to the period it is set in. TWS2 is played out during Japan’s feudal period (1185 – 1868) and it contains enough Samurai swords and deaths to satisfy the blood lust of any future Matsudaira Naritsugu.

During the three or four hours it took me to play through the tutorial campaign I spent just as much time, if not more, reading about all the different clans from this period, than actually controlling them. The micromanaging aspects of games has always come easy to me but when it comes to the real-time battles, I think a common peasant from feudal Japan could out play me, with one hand planting rice. I am like General Custer, who gets wiped out at Little Big Horn, except the odds are actually in my favor. Thankfully, the Total War games provide you with an auto-resolve option when facing a real-time battle and in TWS2 I use it regularly. About the only time I don’t choose the auto-resolve option is when the numerical and technological odds are so stack in my favor that even I, General Incompetent, can squeak out a victory.

One of the most entertaining and rewarding game play aspects of TWS2, for me, has been the use of special agents that can move around the map and perform special tasks. A Monk, or Missionary, unit can put a newly “acquired” population at ease or insight rebellion, a Meske can bribe opposing generals and manage settlements and a Geisha can spy in enemy territory and assassinate important individuals. My favorite agent, however, is the Ninja. Perhaps I’ve watched The Last Samurai to often and consider the Ninja the Samurai’s nemesis (which is not true but fun to fantasize about) and I use them against opposing Samurai armies as frequently as possible. The Ninja’s ability to assassinate and sabotage make him a very useful ally in the quest to conquer a new territory. What better way to prepare for a castle assault then ordering your ninja to open the gate?

TWS2 brings the eastern version of Medieval Europe into my hands and makes it available to play with. Feudal Japan was a time of bloodshed but also a time of philosophical advancement, literature and honor. Thanks to TWS2 I am able to enjoy war gaming in safety, open my mind to the copious amounts of knowledge and broaden my appreciation for the additions this far eastern culture provided – as long as no one sends a ninja to assassinate me.

Putting Off Play.

The moments I most enjoy playing video games usually come after extended, self imposed, periods of not playing games. Putting off the playing of video games builds anticipation, much like the anticipation that is built during a video game play through. I am currently playing Dead Space thanks to a great Steam sale. One thing that has stood out while exploring the mining vessel USG Ishimura, while fending off monsterous variations of its inhabited crew members, is the anticipation that is built up between bloody encounters.

The planet cracking, (mining) USG Ishimura.

There is an increased amount of satisfaction garnered when setting down to play a game after accomplishing certain chores and job hunting related tasks in a day. Is it a reward system? Yes. Is it therapeutic? No doubt. Is it more enjoyable when you perceive you gaming time as earned? Absolutely. During this period of unemployment where my efforts are not directly rewarded in the form of a salary, it is essential to reward yourself. When some of your ‘work’ does not bear fruit it is necessary to motivate your efforts and smooth your doubts with the anticipation of reward – video games fill that role for me.

Face to face character dialogue, audio logs of now diseased crew members, and “baby step quests” (What I call quests that build the foundation and the ability of the protagonist to reach a main quest and/or climatic point in a game.) all add to the anticipation of reaching a major gaming moment in Dead Space. The fact that the game is broken down into chapters enables the player to salivate with anticipation wondering what’s on the next “page”. Specific to Dead Space, the player wonders whats on the next “page” and do I have enough ammo to handle it.

One of Dead Space's audio logs - a creepy & terrifying version of Star Trek's Captain's Log.

The anticipation of immersing myself in a video game provides me the motivation I sometimes need while perusing job postings, filling out repetitive, online HR applications, and choking down another denial of employment email. It helps me deal with disappointment and move on from not being selected for a job. Instead of taking pause and letting depression seep in I think about video games, about playing them. But not until I hit up, visit career specific job posting blogs, touch base with my network, apply to a few more positions, rewrite my cover letter accordingly, make additional follow up calls… All while anticipating playing another chapter.

Don’t Stranglehold My Stronghold Please.

In the first Stronghold, from developers Firefly, I found out that I had an intense hate for Rats, Pigs and Wolves – Snakes, I’d go back and forth on. Now, whenever I eat pork I do so with a little extra venom. It was also in Stronghold that I was able to live out my desires to siege castles like they did in my movie memories of the eighties.

In Stronghold 2 I became as frustrated as an over taxed peasant and as angry as a King without a full coffer at the tedious process of just collecting wood, let alone defending a castle. I couldn’t even bring a friend along to help me out in co-op, so we could suffocate in agony together.

With Stronghold 3 releasing on October 25th, 2011 I am hoping Firefly will cut the noose off its castle building, kingdom reigning medieval simulator. From the information provided by Firefly it has every intention to do so. Some key issues that are being addressed are:

  • A better visual and visceral combat experience (with humor).
  • Step away from the over complicated issues that Black Plagued Stronghold 2 (Just collect wood you worthless peasant!)
  • Much improved and now adaptable castle building (see Trinigy Vision Engine) – no more distorted castle walls or frustrating denials of placement.
  • Housing will visually match its surroundings depending on location/distance from main keep.
  • Incorporation of in-game physics thanks to the Havok engine – now walls will crumble and troops will fly when they are hit by a two ton boulder.
  • Day/Night cycles, where visibility is dependent on in-game lighting from new building options.
  • Multiplayer options through Steam.
  • The Wolf is back!

The visual and physics updates are exciting but the ease of multiplayer, rather co-op versus or group vs. group, will be much appreciated and very welcomed by the Stronghold community. For during the days of Stronghold and Stronghold 2 multiplayer was a trial of patience and usually you ended up playing the role of the court jester for thinking you would actually play a satisfactory game against a friend or anyone. Just like how the invention of gun powder changed the overall picture of castle sieges so has cable/DSL and online gaming stores/digital distribution networks changed the fluidity of multiplayer. Stronghold 3 will be the first in the series to be released in the middle of the direct download and social gaming grouping options by making Steam its priority launch pad.

So who is afraid of the big bad Wolf? Perhaps I am (because of a wolf’s ability to hunt in the dark) but I will gladly let him put my neck in a stranglehold while I enjoy the Renaissance of improvements that will makeup Stronghold 3. Lets hope publisher 7sixty’s first release blows our houses down on October 25th, 2011.

Take Heed and Bare Witness to….Paul Eiding.

I recently downloaded EA’s online gaming social network and store known as Origin. It is meant to compete with Steam and with EA releasing Battlefield 3 soon (the reason I downloaded the new Origin app), it will do just that. I think it will be one of many competitors to Steam and I wanted to be an early adapter and familiar with the new platform when everyone else are just wetting their toes. It was the early adapter aspect that helped me pick my focus of this week’s post.

Paul Eiding is a household name in video game voice acting. His name/voice has been attached to an ongoing string of video game blockbusters (Diablo, StarCraft, Metal Gear Solid, Diablo II, God of War, Fallout 3, Dragon Age: Origins, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty) and even ones not deemed blockbusters (Tenchu 2, Escape From Monkey Island, EverQuest II, Jade Empire, Advent Rising, Ratchet & Clank series, Ninja Gaiden II), still received critical and commercial success. His resume of voice acting dates back to when the industry could finally fit enough data on a disk to enable it. It was that fact that put him out front of the nerd herd of voice actors: his early adaption to a developing industry.

Paul started on the stage and still calls it his true home but his commercial success came from his voice. His career started to develop by doing cartoon voices for the likes of Gobots, The Jetsons and The Smurfs (see his career start up story, in his own words, here: His jump from the obscure to mainstream can be narrowed down to his voice role of Perceptor in the 1980s version of Transformers.

He exploded on to the voice gaming stage by landing a gig with Blizzard in their tremendously successful role playing, top down, click fest versus demons game Diablo. Every time your warrior class in that game uttered, “I gotta pawn some of this stuff,” because your inventory is too full, it is Paul Eiding letting you know. When Pepin the Healer lets you know about a potion he wants you to give to the witch, Paul Eiding is uttering those words. Diablo was one of the first games to be packed with a full audio experience and when you look back at that game and wonder why it scared you so much it was because the sound and the voiced lore was new, fresh and downright pee your pants scary. The voice acting for Archbishop Lazarus and the lore you read throughout the dungeon….Paul Eiding. Two fine examples of his fear inducing voice can be listen to/viewed below.

Blizzard was a pretty good company to get in good with regarding a future in voice acting. Soon after his success in Diablo he showed his range by voicing Aldaris in StarCraft and its expansion StarCraft: Brood War. If the following doesn’t bring back memories and the frustration that comes from not having enough pylons, then you probably didn’t play StarCraft.

 If the picture to the left looks familiar then you too enjoyed sometime with Solid Snake of the Metal Gear Solid series and more importantly you enjoyed the voicing of Paul Eiding as Colonel Roy Campbell (pictured left). The Metal Gear Solid series success was due to the original PlayStation’s ability to use Compact Discs, new to gaming at the time, which enabled game data and rich sound. That rich sound enabled the US version of the game to hire Paul Eiding as the voice of Colonel Roy Campbell. It of course didn’t hurt that the game play of Metal Gear Solid was fun and great at creating tension.

In Blizzard’s follow up to Diablo, aptly named Diablo II, Paul voiced one of my most memorable cinematic scenes in a video game thus far (below). Funny enough, even Marius (the meager human within the scene) points out the voice of Mephisto. Who is voicing Mephisto you ask? You got it, Paul Eiding.

More recently Paul has lent his voice acting talents to Fallout 3 (voicing over 10 characters), Dragon Age: Origins (multiple characters), StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (multiple credits) and Halo: Reach (Spartan Commander). His most recent video game credit to date, via, is his reoccurring role as Zephyr in the recently announced Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. I can only hope that another credit will be announced soon for the highly anticipated Diablo III.

Where many have had Hollywood success and then played their hand at voice acting, Paul invested early into a new and highly rewarding (commercially and personally) career of video game voice acting. Interesting enough Hollywood noticed and Paul has had voice acting roles in the animated movies Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Up and Wall-E. I know Paul’s heart beats for the stage and more blockbuster movie roles will surely come calling from Hollywood. I just hope he keeps his toes in the video game water so all us nerds can continue to enjoy his talents.

A Boy Named Sue: Freedoms of Gamer Tags.

Everyone has a nickname, good or bad. A name your friends called you, affectionately or in jest, when you were younger. There is a new “nickname” phenomena that is present and has been since online gaming went mainstream, and even before. Instead of a nickname, like Tbone or T (my youth nicknames), children and adults both have replaced the everyday nickname in favor of an online persona – a gamer tag.

A gamer tag is your online id, your banner leading you into war (well, at least a digital version of war). It is the name that is placed next to your online score and is most likely accompanied by a picture. Now the picture, like the name, doesn’t have to be directly related to you but could be an internet meme reference or a picture tied into a passion of yours (i.e. an anime picture or a character from a movie). It also can be a ridiculous photo that is full of irony considering the platform it is presented on (see below).

Mandingo's Steam gamer tag "photo id" and his online gaming sidekick Judas.

A gamer tag is the name your friends know you by online. It acts as an unique reference for conversation during a teamwork based multiplayer or as an ongoing joke. It also becomes burnt into the memories of those you slay online if your good or is easily  forgotten if you live and die like a noob. It is something you can yell into team-talk, if you are doing well, to motivate your team and get a laugh. It is something you can yell into team talk as you sacrifice your online self in the hopes of victory or just for a laugh.

Unlike a nickname, your online gamer tag is normally chosen on your own and not by some bully looking to score a cheap shot or by a friend complimenting your ability to garner the affection from the opposite sex. A gamer tag is a living thing in the since that it can change with you and in conjunction with your hobbies/passions and what is going on in your life. It can change daily if you want it to (The PC based social gaming network Steam allows you to change your gamer id infinitely but not all platforms [Xbox and PS3] are as user friendly). Your tag is controlled by you as is the accompanying picture. For some, a gamer tag is the only thing they have complete control over in their life. It is the only aspect of their day to day routine that they can attach a meaning of their choosing to. If the tag is a persona it can be a chance for the player to not only play whatever game is running on their screen but also act out and “play” their persona.

A gamer tag can be something  humorous, pornographic or humorously pornographic. It can cause online friends and foe alike to do some search engine exploration.  For example do a ‘SafeSearch off’ Google image search of Mandingo and cringe at the results (WARNING: NOT SUGGESTED FOR THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 18).

The best part of a gamer tag is it can be, most of the time, whatever you want it to be (some restrictions, rightfully, apply for tags that are blatantly/obviously vulgar, racist etc…). Your real name can be changed, which is a good thing if your parents were assholes (See Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue below) but the effort involved is a bit more involved then changing your gamer tag and wont result in as much fun.

Replay Value: Sh*t and Shinolah.

I was taking a look at my Steam library this weekend and viewing my hours played for each game I own. One thing, well two things, became very clear to me. The first being is I play waaaaaay too much and the second, the games making up my favorites list all contain some element of replay value. Upon further reflection I realized that all my favorite current games and fondly looked upon games of my past all have aspects of replay value.

Replay value, the second word being just as important as the first. If you go to a bar and buy a double, once you finish it you have nothing to show for it (except maybe a slight buzz) and no way to enjoy it again unless you purchase another. A game that contains some facet to it that will bring you back  again and again means you have a game with replay value. It is not a game where you play through it once, blow your load, and decide never to call it again (See the indie game Braid. Great game but once you finish it, will you ever return to it?).

Trying to find an antithesis to games that contain some replay value is a difficult task in today’s gaming market and nothing against Braid because its focus was always the single player experience and the story that goes with it. Publishers and developers are well aware that a games digital shelf life is important to its profitability and gamers realize its important to their happiness and bank account. Replay value is now a part of almost every game released. Some games do it well and make it a focus of the games development cycle from start to finish. Some games try to just stick in some replay value so they can put it in quotes on the back of their retail copies or within their trailers (Cough! Cough! Ghostbusters: The Videogame.)


Two routes seem to be the the most effective in creating replay value. Creating a game that is centrally focused on mulitplayer (i.e. Battlefield Series) or a  game that is focused on game useful collectables and exploration (i.e. Diablo series). The games that seem to have the shelf life of a radioactive isotope have found a way to creatively do both, focus on multiplayer and in-game items.  Team Fortress 2 is the shining example of this method of creating and replay value. Its original release (in 2007) was as a much anticipated multiplayer shooter with a purchase cost. It has now transformed to a free-to-play online shooter with an item drop system and money making item cash shop. An example of a game focusing on exploration (crack) and items (meth) is the Re-Logic’s Terraria. This side, and up and down, scrolling adventure game was crafted from start to finish to use collecting shinies, creating shinies from those shinies and repeat, as its main focus and draw – with great success. It has 4 player multiplayer (Four player multiplayer seems to be a gaming norm now. So everyone, make sure you only have four friends.) where you can explore and hoard shinies together.


Games from here forward will continue to be multifaceted experiences that pay heed to our social (multiplayer), inquisitive (exploration) and addictive (shinies) character traits. Games are getting better at appealing to our guttural desires and our recession styled pocket books. Games, and their publisher and developers, are now replay value focused. Just a bit of caution though, some publishers and developers will be creating games that they want their customers to play persistently, enjoy and do contain quality replay value. Others will just try to market to you that their games contain quality multiplayer and item hunting adventuring.  So when considering a purchase whose marketing mentions keywords associated with replay value consider the following video:

So I leave it up to you fellow gamers (and those of you who haven’t picked up the hobby yet) to be able to determine shit from Shinola.


The Unemployed Gamer Virus: Cure Found

Gaming has always been a hobby, an escape and a social meeting arena for me and my friends. Gaming has provided me a place where I can go and not bring any other thoughts with me,  my own personal sanctuary…unemployment briefly changed that. Unemployment has a tendency to twist the things you enjoy and turn them into moments of self conscious periods of doubt. Unemployment is a computer virus on my hobby.

Gaming in the evenings, after a day of stressful and frustrating work, was end-of-the-day therapy for me. Coupled with a hard workout, gaming was cure number two for the weekly grind. As long as I could get in 1 1/2 hours of gaming every two days, coupled with an hour of working out a day, I could usually go to bed and rest. I could usually make it to the weekend and be able to let everything go and enjoy those two precious days that start with a “S”. You would think with more time to enjoy my hobby then all the better?

For the first time, the first weekend not being gainfully employed, gaming did not bring the same meditation it once did. About 5 minutes in to my pastime that Friday afternoon a storm stealthy blew in and within its lightning strikes rode the unemployment virus striking out at my lightning rod brain. I  immediately began to doubt the efforts I put into job hunting over the last two days. I questioned if  I saw and applied for all the new jobs posted that week that even remotely related to my education and work experience. I immediately worried that I had missed touching base with someone in my network. I would worry that I wouldn’t hear back from someone in my network. I would worry, I would worry, I would worry, I would… die, in my game. Distracted and infected with the unemployment virus I let the walls to my sanctuary crumble and fall, making a ruin of my once great gaming monument.

I had to take a step back. I had to refocus my thought process. I had to be able to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies again. I had to reassure myself and cure this unemployment virus.  The first step was to look at my job hunting process I set up. I looked over the spreadsheet I created (complete with columns for links to job descriptions, company names, date applied,  follow up dates and contact names and their numbers/emails) and the jobs I had already applied to.  I reviewed my resume again, updated my LinkedIn profile and looked back over the two new cover letters (a generic and a targeted one) that I created a day before. I made sure I provided updates to all my social media accounts that had a place for a status – “Freshly unemployed and on the hunt. Any leads would be appreciated. Experience in journalism, marketing, corporate communication and much more. For details to my education and work history please touch base.” was noted openly and hopefully. I realized I was organized and running hard as if I was being whipped by Ron Turcotte himself. I also realized that keeping organized and on a routine similar to a regular work week would help bring back my peace of mind.

That Monday I got up at 7AM as I would usually do as if working. I worked out, showered, made coffee and then set down at my desk for my new job… job hunting. I applied to new job posts I felt qualified for. I updated my spreadsheet and checked on follow up dates and made a couple of calls. I checked the social networks for any mentions of possible employment and to double check if there was someone I hadn’t reached out to that I should. I ate lunch then checked if there were new posts for possible employment or emails in response to earlier applications.

I did my new temporary job into the afternoon and then stopped. I saved my spreadsheets and other documents, logged out of  my social media sites and closed down my email. I then started up Steam and joined a friend already in a Team Fortress 2 game. I shot ‘noobs’ in the face and burned their backs with a flamethrower. I destroyed sentry guns and teleporters. I checked for spies in our base and air pushed back temporary invulnerable opponents. I sneaked out a doorway and off a ledge, burned half the opposing team to death from behind and pushed the game ending bomb-on-a-cart to victory as the hated pyro.

How I dress for gaming success - Team Fortress 2's 'Pyro'.

I did all this and thought about nothing else. I cured the unemployment gamer virus with organization, practical effort and the reassurance that I am doing (and will continue to do) all I can to once again be a gainfully employed gamer. I enjoyed gaming.

In a Dungeon Together: Gaming From Afar.

There may be a 1,000+ miles between us but for the hour that we are talking, planning and fighting for our survival, on each of our own monitors, it’s as if she is in the room with me. Despite her lumbering British internet, and with the help of Steams great online technology, we are able to laugh, cooperate and collect shinies as a pair of cartoonish knights in, Three Rings’ developed, Spiral Knights (published by SEGA).

Gaming from afar has become something much more to me than the weekend gaming sessions amongst friends. The “Pond” between my girlfriend and I this month has created a scenario were these gaming sessions are the most important and endearing I have ever played. Even in a Free To Play game with simplistic (not to be confused with bad) graphics and simple game play (a strength of Spiral Knights) – our sessions together are comparable to none.

I have played uncountable gaming sessions amongst friends in online worlds of blockbuster developed titles. On multiple occasions my friends and I have just eked out a win over the ‘blue team’ or just barely fell to defeat to the Russians but, none of those moments have satisfied me the way my sessions, in a casual dungeon crawler, with my girlfriend have.

Online gaming amongst couples is a unique experience. Their is an unmentioned connection that plays into the games adventure at hand. The role of protecting each other, unknowingly at first, between the coop couple produces an added level of drama and interaction to the experience. You know the character representing your significant other is just that, a character representation and nothing more. Knowing it is just her avatar doesn’t completely sway you from that little sadness that hits you when she falls in battle to a poisonous jelly mass, a rabid squirrel, a fire firing tower, or a dusty skeleton (man she dies a lot). That added sense of realism is not something a game can do on its own and that is why the experience is so unique. The parameters for engagement in the game comes from outside influences.


Credit to for the pic.

Who knew Jello could be so dangerous?


A coop couple can share time and understanding together by gaming from afar. They can work together, communicate and overcome. They can also garner a little insight that if they can, together, conquer monsters in a cramped dungeon, they can conquer issues, together, in a modest apartment.

Free to Play: The Death of Single Player Campaigns?

Will free to play [FTP] be the death of the enjoyable and immersive single player campaign? Will the new and continuing stream of ‘no charge’ game play become the substitute for the detailed story driven games we talk about with friends? The continued trend of developers offering FTP games could definitely have an impact on the single player experience.

Recently Steam, the leading source for digital gaming downloads on the PC, started making free to play games part of their distribution practice. This significant development by the most significant distributor is a sign of things to come. FTP is here to stay, has been for awhile, and is growing in popularity and quality.

Valve is even in route to develop their own FTP game ( Other big developers jumping on board include EA (Battlefield Play4Free) and Bohemia (Arma 2).


Battlefield Free2Play doesn't look like the FTP flash games of old.


Will the FTP genre replace the single player option though? Not entirely. Though the trend of developers going the FTP course seems pretty overwhelming at the moment take a look back to the massively multiplayer online [MMO] start-ups of the late 90s and early 2000s. Look in particular at Blizzard and World of Warcraft. Did it stop them from creating enjoyable single player experiences? No, just look at StarCraft II and, with fingers crossed, Diablo III.

The FTP craze will settle a bit. Developers will see it for what it is, another income generator of many. The business model of today (even more so for online based operations) are multiple sources of income, and that is what FTP is, that is what a MMO is – and that is what a game with a solid single player experience is as well. The real winners will be us gamers, and those developers who can combine those aspect effectively.

There will be some effect on single player campaigns. Some developers, whose sole focus is FTP, will muddy the waters with stitched together single player campaigns attached to, what they hope is, a micro transaction money maker. This has already been seen and will continue. Those who make FTP their focus and increase their audience appreciation (and therefor their subscription bases) with a worthy single player experience will rise to the top.

As gamers we will adapt to the new landscape of FTP and subscribe, spend money (micro-transactions), and support the communities of FTP games that make complete games. Those developers who market their games accurately by only making polished online experiences their focus will have an advantage over companies who try to market an all encompassing game (i.e. single player, online and micro-transaction based play) that gets nothing right.

Giving a Book a Good Cover (Pt. 1): Effective Launch Trailers

Launch trailers are the book covers of video games; something we shouldn’t judge but sometimes do anyways. Launch trailers (trailers for a game soon to be launched) are supposed to make us pick up that book and open its cover.

How many game trailers have you come across that motivated you to post them via your social network or instantly purchase the game? More likely, how many times have you stopped a game trailer before it finished?

Game trailers can have a huge impact on awareness for a new franchise or create the necessary buzz at the start of a stretch marketing campaign. Some trailers can cause instant purchasing, especially when it is presented via a digital download service like STEAM (the leading digital PC gaming download service and social network with 25 million+ users).

If your looking to generate awareness amongst potential buyers and get them to open the cover, then how should your game trailer be presented? It needs to contain a good representation of the games atmosphere and create interest by leaving somethings, like game play, unknown. A launch trailer captures and holds your interest but leaves you with some questions. Perhaps those same questions will lead you to do your own investigating and start “reading” the game. A great and recent example of this type of trailer can be seen in Dead Island’s launch trailer here

The Dead Island launch trailer, if presented to an audience on STEAM, will more than likely NOT create a desire to pre-purchase but would generate the desire to learn more. That desire to learn more may lead that potential customer to the game’s website and transform that inquisitiveness into the desire to purchase. At the least, the launch trailer will put the games name in the head of the buyer and when more information on the game becomes available (like a game play trailer) the buyer will take notice.

Join the herd next week for Pt. II of Giving a Book a Good Cover where we look at game play trailers and what makes them view worthy, from start to finish. If you have any game play trailer(s) that impacted your decision, positively or negatively, to purchase please let me know about them in comments.