In Video games, of course. Particularly, PC.
I’ve been somewhat of an evangelist for cheating in video games. As I’ve gotten older and game playtimes have grown, I’ve found myself growing less and less accepting of “the grind.” Whether it’s gold, experience, or random gewgaws, I just don’t have the time to expend scrapping for gold to buy that awesome sword or fighting waves of enemies to get that last skill. I also know that unless gamechanging DLC comes out, the likelihood I will be replaying games is fairly low. I also think it’s better to beat a game cheating than to let it wither on the backlog vine. So in order to get the most from a game on the first or second playthrough, I cheat my brains out.
I realize cheating can ruin games. I’ve done it before. But in a lot of ways, it can enhance them. Not sure about a build? Restarting a character? Second playthrough to catch other parts of the story? Well my friend, that is why we cheat.
When to Cheat?
Well, that’s kind of up to you. But what I will say is never cheat online. Not just because it ruins the fun for everyone, but because it can get you things like VAC banned or server banned. So don’t be a dick in multiplayer when it comes to cheating.
Here’s where that gets complicated: Always on games with drop in/out multiplayer. Think about MGS V, the Souls games, or Dying Light. My personal rule on this is that if I cheat, I set my game to private only. That way, if I have friends playing it straight, they don’t happen to walk into my lootsplosion. As a general rule, you are safe to cheat in these sorts of games and don’t have to worry about bans. Some games will throw you into a cheater “pool” (like GTA V), but here’s the corollary to that: The cheater pool is almost always f’ing awesome.
How to Cheat?
Ok, time for some how-to, finally.
There’s more than a few ways to cheat on PC. I’ll go through them easiest to hardest to learn.
The Save Game
This one’s almost a no brainer. There are a lot of great sites out there that can provide you 100% save games. Everything unlocked, open world ready for your newly made deity to walk the earth. Of course, there’s some pros and cons here. If you are playing, say, Skyrim, you are locked into that characters decisions and looks (unless you want to mess around with the console, I will get into that later). One big pro is in multipart games (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Witcher) you can download a save game that has made corresponding decisions to one you would have made. This is particularly great for replays where you want to try another gender/morality/choice pattern. Sites like http://www.masseffectsaves…. do a great job cataloging saves and making sure you are getting exactly what you are looking for.
The Save Game editor
Closely linked to the above, a Save Game editor is sort of the entrance to trainers. Usually a stand alone program, a Save Game Editor hacks the 1’s and 0’s in your save game to allow you to tweak to your hearts content. I recommend SGE’s for games that are loot heavy. Borderlands is a great example. Not only can you change the stats, perks, and abilities of your characters, but with some reading, you can change your guns and equipment right down to individual mods. Lile your sniper but wish it was fire instead of poison? Too easy. Change one drop down and back to Pandora. As these are programs (Like WillowTree# for Borderlands ( http://sourceforge.net/proj… ) You are usually bound to editing only the presets the author provides. So there can be some limits to freedom. Plus, Save Game editors rarely let you make impactful changes to the world, more just your character and progress.
Straight up, I am not a fan. I’ve had more issues with trainers than I have had good experiences. Trainers are programs you launch once the game is running that analyzes changes in memory for certain values. Once there, they freeze or change those values for you, allowing you to have things like unlimited health or unlimited money. The problem is, that these break almost every patch. So your Red Alert 3 v1.01 trainer is junk once they release v1.02 as the memory pointers almost always change. This makes trainers a nightmare for newly released games. Where trainers do shine is in games, like Red Alert, that have seen their last days of updated versions. For reference, you will usually see things like Trainer +13 or Trainer +2. What that typically means is how many memory pointers are presaved in the Trainer. So a +2 might be bare bones and only let you change maybe your health and amount of resources. Where a +8 might include things like access to all super weapons, instant research and training time, things like that. Since trainers are programs, you have to be extremely careful when downloading them. There are many paid sites (Cheat Happens is probably the largest) where a monthly or yearly subscription can get you access to trainers that are free of malware
My personal favorite. Cheat Engine requires a little patience and a little learning, but it is the most powerful tool in a cheater’s library. Like a trainer, Cheat Engine monitors memory inside a program. You open the program (Let’s say Witcher3.exe) and then type in the number you are looking for. Let’s say you want to hack your gold. You have 100 Florins. So you put 100 in cheat engine and hit search. Cheat Engine searches for all memory pointers that = 100. Tab back into the game, spend 2 Florins. Tab back to Cheat Engine, search for 98. Usually, there you go. You’ve now found the pointer for gold. Change it to 1000000, never worry about gold again. Any variable that can change in a game is susceptible to Cheat Engine. Carry weight? Sure. Experience? You bet ya. Health? Mana? Skill points? Of course. Cheat Engine has a really lively forum, as well, where people will post “tables” that are like trainers without the risk. You load your table into Cheat Engine and, like a trainer, it has certain values already pre-searched for you. People create some extremely complicated scripts for these tables. For example, there was a script that changed all my soldiers in my base in MGS V to Kojima. Neat!
I like Cheat Engine because the cheating is tailored. I mentioned in Gameological posts that I absolutely hate weight restrictions in RPGs. With Cheat Engine, I can quickly search my maximum weight restriction, alter it, change it, and be done.
Changes in Cheat Engine can almost always be undone, but there still are some risks. A wrong edit can crash your game. And as always, you can corrupt saves if you cheat certain things, like boss health or other stats that tend to be saved in multiple places in a game’s memory. So having a “hard save” before you cheat is always good advice.
The granddaddy of cheats. Pretty much all pre 2006 games had console commands. Console commands are what most people think of when they think of cheat codes. Type a word in, and you are on your way. Games these days often hide the console. You may need to edit some coding in the game’s INI file to enable it. But it’s usually as simple as changing the word false to the word true. The reason they hide it, though, is that console commands these days are a LOT more than IDKFA.
The reason I list this as hardest of the cheating methods is because it’s usually my cheat of last resort. Even though the Gamebryo (Skyrim, Fallout) games have a well formed console, a lot of times you are accessing developer tools and the likelihood of breaking your game irreparably increases. Other games, like BioShock, allow for console edits of things like Eye Height and Gravity. While it’s fun as hell to mess with this stuff, you can easily wreck the game if you don’t understand what edits you are making. Console commands can also change the game world. Commands like MarkForDelete or Disable in A Bethesda game can have huge consequences.
The major pro for console commands, especially the above mentioned Bethesda games, is since you can edit the game itself, you can do things like fix broken quests, spawn bugged NPCs, or teleport your player out of stuck textures. So while I don’t recommend it as a starting point, learning some essential console commands, particularly if you’re banging your head against Bethesda’s noted bugginess, can go a long way.
So, that’s my spiel for how to cheat in games. If you get stuck on anything or just have some questions about how to cheat on an annoying game, let me know.