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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Binary Domain




TeKKEN 5 Minimum System Requirements

OS : Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 Or Windows 8
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 GHz or AMD equivalent
Memory: 2GB RAM (XP)/3GB RAM (Windows 7 / Vista)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT220 (512MB) / ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT (512MB)
Hard Drive: 8 GB free hard drive space
Language : English, French, German, Italian, Spanish




Binary Domain

Dave Shaw

Binary Domain is Yakuza meets Gears Of War. That's not a bad thing though: find out why in our review.

binary-005.jpg
Published on Feb 22, 2012
If you’re looking for a swift verdict, today might just be your lucky day. For despite protestations of choice and consequence, squad combat tactics and a narrative delivered through gameplay, Binary Domain is simply this: a Japanese Gears Of War, done well.
All the idiosyncrasies are there. Levels tubular to the point of predictability, a cocky hero with a heart of gold and - naturally – a quite unspeakably stereotyped black man, who despite becoming the lynchpin of the world’s elite tactical force has all the grammar skills you’d expect of a Baltimore corner drug dealer. For shame.
Indeed, concerning ourselves with issues of gameplay alone for a moment, the extent to which Binary Domain beatifies Epic Games’ trilogy inevitably leads to massive initial disappointment.
Put bluntly, it is an homage to the adventures of Marcus Fenix and friends in the same way shoplifting is an homage to fine food. Though the foes have become all carbon fibre and metal alloy, their templates come stamped with the seal of Cliff Bleszinski.
Crawling enemies that creep with speed and explode at close range. Simian brutes who gallop and attempt to repeatedly melee. Heck, it even shares Gears’ propensity to construct insignificant dead-ends, designed specifically for the purpose of ‘hiding’ power-ups.
So the backdrop is an intensely familiar one – augmented by signature Japanese customisation features that actually interfere with what it’s trying to do – so why do we love it so?
The French robot will quickly become one of your favourites.
Our answer comes through an even mix of genuine narrative intrigue, utterly satisfying baseline gunplay, plus more insanity than you can fit in a polka-dotted cocked hat that also doesn’t exist.
Borne of Toshihiro Nagoshi, the man who once thought encasing monkeys in plastic spheres then piloting them towards numbered targets was a sane thing to be doing with his adulthood, it’s little surprise to see Binary Domain bamboozle the mind.
Not through its basic contrivance you understand – a well-worn Frankenstein narrative upon the nature of a world part-populated by robots indistinguishable from mankind – more its ability to twist harder than a 1960s teenager. Besides, of course, boss encounters about as spectacular as one could fathom within a futuristic real-world setting.
It’s a notable shame, given what is to follow, that the adventure starts off in such horribly low-key fashion. Arriving through the depths, Solid Snake-like, to land upon a Toyko sea wall in the year 2080, Rust Team operative Dan Marshall is embroiled in conversation with teammate Roy “Big Bo” Boateng how best to proceed.
Through one of the greyest tutorial levels we’ve ever seen, we learn they’re just one arm of a covert international operation, looking to haul in the director of a megacorporation for his violation of Geneva conventions.
The specific crime? Creating robots - to date only a source of cheap labour - that both look and behave like real human beings. As a side note, we also learn at this point that more generic humanoid automatons are terrific fun to smash, dissolving into dozens of shards and limb fragments at even the slightest touch of a bullet.
To look at it, it'd be difficult to distinguish from Gears Of War.
A ham-fisted allegorical racism plot develops from this point on, rendered charming by a commitment to being knowingly naff, plus some cute characterisation touches.
Industrial cranes that come alive to attack, for example, that still do you the courtesy of playing the chimes they’d normally use when reversing.
Droid security guards furnished not as ultra-efficient neutralisers of intruders, but to match the elderly retired cop archetype, complete with rubbish batons.
A French robotic party member, distinguishable immediately by the bandana lazily draped around its neck. All of which (and much) more will guarantee you’ll be grinning from ear to ear as Binary Domain’s extensive narrative sections unfold.
However, Nagoshi’s desire to create a videogame whose story takes place during action sequences alone remains unfulfilled. This is due to some rather unnecessary meddling with the Western shooter archetype.
Primarily, this concerns Binary Domain’s headline employment of both speech recognition and a karma system – both of which amount to little more than a gimmick.
As far as chatting to your three party members is concerned, the linearity of play provides little reason to start ordering them in this direction or that.
As you progress, enemy variants 'improve' with additional armour plating.
Considering so much of the fight is spent methodically working your way through constricted tunnels – and that damage taken fades quickly over time – there’s little reason to engage with the system at all.
Quite often too, comrades will flat out refuse to obey your orders due to being embroiled in some tit-for-tat battle between one CPU controlled piece of code and another.
Basically, sharing identical problems with other videogames that offer squad order mechanics. What’s more, the code’s inability to distinguish a cough or sudden movement from Received Pronunciation leads to battles peppered with squad members yelling “what?” and “you talking to me?” Not at all like Robert DeNiro, either, sadly.
The chance to emotionally engage with characters through speech is similarly denied, confined as it is to pointed questions asked by party members every hour or so, the results of which cause an arrow next to their face to raise or lower, but have little effect on the battlefield.
Despite repeatedly (and creepily) professing our love for Dan’s burliest accomplice – freaking him out no end – he was never sufficiently disturbed to stop offering first aid in our time of need, or even remark upon how uncomfortable our feelings made him, outside of his direct response.
Naturally too, the game’s emotional turning point – which we’ll courteously refuse to spoil – proceeds as an entertaining yet notably non-interactive movie – one that might have benefited from the resonance a little chat might have leant it. Put simply, Binary Domain would have been slightly superior if speech had been simply omitted altogether. 
Similarly, Nagoshi-san’s insistence on mixing overtly simplistic gameplay with a sequence of character upgrades quickly becomes a chore.
There's still a very Yakuza feel to the cut scenes and NPCs.
At various narrative-relevant junctures, players are forced to divide the six principle characters into a pair of teams – one to accompany, one to leave behind.
All six can be customised as time progresses, utilising in-game currency to purchase overly complicated stat boosts, or more straightforward weapon upgrades.
This, too, presents several problems. Firstly, the upgrades’ bog standard nature leads players to believe they’re upgrading simply to keep pace, rather than achieve some tactical edge (doubly so, considering the linearity of Binary Domain’s level design).
Secondly, the opportunity to upgrade simply occurs far too often. Finally, the narrative limits your choices in ways that are impossible to predict, taking away characters you might have spent hours earning the cash to improve and by association bonding with, sometimes instigating lonesome boss battles with pre-determined loadouts.
While the result is mainly engrossing, you’ll often wonder what the point of all that faffing around was. Again, the experience would have profited from the act of removing this alone.
It certainly saddens us that Binary Domain delved to such gimmicky depths, though such harsh criticism is born of a desire to see its more impressive segments displayed more prominently.
The studio should have instead have worn its linearity as a badge of honour, drawing attention instead to a story of insane excellence and solid combat that impressively ups the ante later on.
You don’t criticise a good book because it’s made from the same paper as everyone else’s, and all that. While you may find yourself pointedly cursing the developer’s ham-fisted attempts to innovate, such anger will never fully eclipse its ability to tell an entertaining story.
The only question that remains – for the man who has already done monkey tennis – is where next?

Remember Me



CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.4Ghz or better, AMD Athlon™ X2 2.8 Ghz or better
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Direct X: 9.0c
Hard Drive:8 GB HD space
Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800GTS or better, ATI Radeon™ HD3850 or better




Remember Me

Ryan King

It's pretty but it's hollow - read our Remember Me review to see why Capcom's latest doesn't live up to its potential.

Published on Jun 3, 2013
The worst feeling to experience when playing a game is ‘if only’.

Well, okay, not strictly true – the worst feeling is blind frustration to the point where you pass out in rage and wake up hours later with shards of pad between your teeth.
But ‘if only’ ranks up there too, because you know that after all that hard work, the finished product has fallen a little short of expectations. If only the gameplay was a little tighter. If only the story was a little better. If only the voice actors hadn't read their lines with as much emotion as someone reading the ingredients on a packet of crisps.

If only.

Remember Me inspires that feeling more than any other game in recent memory so let’s start with the one thing it gets very, very right – the visuals.

Remember Me - The Visuals

One comparison that popped up often in preview coverage was Blade Runner, the lazy shorthand for ‘dark urban sci-fiwith lots of neon lights’. Remember Me doesn’t often dip into that though too often though. If anything, it’s more like Aeon Flux – there’s a surreal slant to the sci-fiso while it feels grounded, it doesn’t feel like something that could ever happen in our future.

Whether you’re clanking down a metallic corridor lit up by red alarm sirens or gazing at distance buildings climbing towards the sky, Remember Me is stunning to look at. Neo Paris drips with dense and unique detail around every corner, and each section looks like it has been individually crafted by an artist’s hand rather than filled in by textures lifted from elsewhere in the game.

But the artists must be furious with the rest of Dontnod because as pretty as the world is, it’s completely empty and almost entirely devoid of meaningful interaction. It serves zero function. It’s full of street vendors you can’t talk to, areas you can’t explore and dead ends whenever the linearity is threatened. Invisible walls shuttle you towards the next checkpoint, with only the odd hidden item tucked away in corners providing and rewarding exploration opportunities.

Remember Me - Awful Story


Remember Me’s world is pretty but there’s little reason for you to slow down and study it, unless you care about learning incidental detail about the story and the world – and you won’t care, because the story is awful. The writing is abysmal.
This is a game that’s so sure you’ll invest in its story that it hurtles along with just the thinnest strands of coherence tying it together, stuffed with terms like Errorist and Remembrane along with characters like Bad Request and Edge. The story is also, somewhat ironically, completely forgettable.

Remember Me also has the worst voice-acting we’ve heard in any game since Two Worlds, Nilin’s voice actress reading the script as though it’s the first time she’s seen it. What’s particularly infuriating is this was highlighted as a huge problem with Remember Me when Nilin first opened her mouth in the reveal trailers many moons ago, and nothing has been done to change it.
Perhaps Dontnod believed the voice-acting was okay, perhaps it was too late for the voice-acting to be changed. The latter is more likely but whatever the reason, it’s awful and the lack of change from the preview stage means you just have to sit through any of the Remember Me trailers circulating YouTube to hear how bad the voice-acting is.

Remember Me - Platforming And Fighting


Platform sections and corridor fights are how you’ll spend most of your time in Remember Me. The platforming sections are easy enough to navigate that they’re neither particularly challenging nor particularly satisfying. Giant orange arrows highlight where to go next and while the occasional puzzle or stealth element is thrown into the mix, there’s nothing too taxing here that it will slow your progress down or frustrate you.

However, the combat feels like a missed opportunity. It’s based around Combo Lab, an idea that had potential. It allows you to string together a series of combo animations with different effects as you unlock them throughout the game – damage, health regen, focus regen for Nilin’s special moves and so on. The idea is that you create combo trees that cater for different situations.
But there’s no flow to combat, and combos look like a series of canned animations that play one after the other. And that’s even if you get to see the entire combo. Without a strong crowd control move, Nilin rarely gets more than two or three hits into her combos before she’s forced to dodge from a nearby threat.
There’s no real rhythm to the combat and no real depth to explore in it either. It’s simply a case of learning patterns and then deploying the right canned combo, rather than improvising your own patterns as seen with a Devil May Cry or God Of War or whatever else. The genesis of a good idea is here but Remember Me’s combat needed a lot more tweaking to realise its potential.

Remember Me - Memory Remixing


The one genuine highlight of Remember Me is the memory remixing, when you get to jump into the memory of your target and change it. Interactivity here is limited – you can only use certain objects at specific points in the memory – but this is one of the few instances where the limited interactivity doesn’t hurt the idea too much, because it’s fascinating to see how the memory plays out once you poked and prodded at a few items.

That could have formed the cornerstone of a more interesting, involving experience but memory remixing is a story-driven mechanic that only happens a handful of times during Remember Me. It’s a shame too because they’re always interesting and fun to play around with and one of the few occasions Remember Me excels and stands out as something worthy of your time.

Outside of that, the quality level peaks and dips depending on whether you’re being force-fed banal story, fighting your way to the next checkpoint or gawping at the world around you.
There’s a lot of potential here for something special and we really wanted to champion something like Remember Me, that at least tries to break the mould in various ways with its ideas and memory remixing. But this feels like an awkward first step rather than a finished product. As it stands, Remember Me is a series of mediocre gameplay ideas stapled to a pretty, hollow shell.

MotoGP 13




MotoGP 13 Minimum System Requirements

OS : Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 Or Windows 8
Processor : Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
Memory : 1024 MB
Video card : GeForce 8800 GT / Radeon HD 3870
Hard Drive : 6 GB or more free space
Sound : Windows compatible sound card


Start Installation Game


Unpack the release
Extract By Using 7-Zip
Install the game From Setup.bat
Play the game





MotoGP 13: The Racing Game With A Difference

Ryan King

You'll fall but you'll keep coming back - MotoGP 13 is tough but you'll learn to love the pain…

Published on Apr 25, 2013
There are some games that you can play and immediately understand the skills required, thanks to the familiarity of them. Play a FPS and you’ll strafe around opponents and instinctively reload behind cover, where you’re safe from gunfire. Play a RPG and you’ll know to use fire spells on ice creatures and vice versa.
Play MotoGP 13 and you’ll realise it’s one of those rare games in that it demands new skills from you altogether. There is no strafing, fira spells or dragon punching to get you out of trouble. Just pure, hardcore racing. And you’ll fail. A lot.

In what can be best described as a learning experience, your first few games of MotoGP 13 are more likely to be how-long-can-I-stay-on-this-bike, as you brace yourself for disaster with each corner that snakes into view on the horizon.
Corners make your bumhole pucker back up into your body with nerves and fear, your attempts to carve your way around at top speed seeing you overshooting the corner and trundling along the grass like a fool, before the laws of physics take pity on you and send you flying over the top of your bike after a panicked attempt to correct yourself.

MotoGP 13 - Skills To Pay The Bills (Well, Play The Game)

It’s not just that you need the usual racing game skills that we lack, such as not using other racers to slow down and a general air of patience and calm. It’s that it’s so different to other racing games, those old skills wouldn’t be enough anyway. You have to consider your position on the bike itself and shift your weight, remembering you’re on two wheels instead of four.
Every corner is a delicate balancing act, that leaves you fearful to push your luck and respectful of gravity. You also have to consider the laws of physics when trying to throw your bike around tight corners at extreme angles. There’s no powersliding or drifting here. You have to learn how to race the hard way.

This makes MotoGP 13 tricky to learn and there’s a multitude of racing aids that can be switched on to help you cope with the learning curve. But once you get to grips with the art of staying on your bike for more than three corners it’s an incredibly satisfying game to play, as you weave in and out of tracks, showing off your mastery of the game.
This won’t be news to MotoGP veterans who will have mastered the gameplay from previous games in the series but for newcomers, it’s an engrossing challenge. Realistic, difficult but fair.

MotoGP 13 - What's There For Fans?

So what’s here for hardcore MotoGP fans? As the official game of the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 2013 championships, it’s stuffed with official riders, tracks, teams and bikes and official commentary from an as-yet-to-be-revealed MotoGP personality. You can play around with bike set-up options and testing the bikes.
We didn’t toy around with that but we’ve heard the physics engine for the bikes manages 300 parameters, with over 100 just for the tyres. MotoGP 13 has 300 physics! That sounds like LOADS of physics. It explains why it feels realistic.

We’re not huge fans of MotoGP itself yet that didn’t stop MotoGP 13 being fun to play – even the simple art of trying to stay on our bikes and eventually learning how to do so was engaging. But the one element that stood out to us is that you can discuss race tactics with team-mates, answer questions from the press and see your popularity on news feeds.
The NBA 2K series does this well, adding an extra gameplay element away from the actual playing-the-sport side. We expect similar great things from MotoGP 13.

Just as we expect great things from the final game. We tried out the split-screen setting when playing MotoGP 13 in the office and the fact that two players who aren’t huge racing fans could enjoy it speaks volumes.
It might have 300 physics, official tracks and licenses and everything else you want from an official game but above all that, it’s just fun to play. And isn’t that what matters?

Deadpool - 2013




CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.4Ghz or better, AMD Athlon™ X2 2.8 Ghz or better
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Direct X: 9.0c
Hard Drive:8 GB HD space
Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800GTS or better, ATI Radeon™ HD3850 or better



Deadpool's defining characteristic seems to be his uncensored personality. But if you spend time with this nearly immortal superhero, you discover that his most important traits are the scars he's burdened with. He dons a skintight suit that covers every inch of his disfigured body, complete with a mask that lacks even a basic mouth hole. However, Deadpool's scars aren't limited to physical imperfections. His mind is as damaged as his monstrous skin. Psychotic bouts affect his every mood, creating a character whose incredible powers are compromised by the hardships he carries. This dichotomy is realized all too well in this action-heavy beat-'em-up. Playful fight sequences are hampered by underlying flaws in the core mechanics, dragging this off-kilter adventure down from its promising perch.
Deadpool is a character whose upfront nature makes him impossible to ignore. Always ready with a lecherous quip, he keeps a running diary of his darkest thoughts as you slice through a ragtag assortment of the Marvel universe's B-tier baddies. His unabashed misogyny and incessant sexual jokes are puerile at best, but as disgusting as he can be, you can't accuse him of being insincere. The jokes feel natural coming from his hidden lips. He's the embodiment of extreme baditude, but instead of sounding like the cynical mind of someone in the marketing department, he instead mirrors the inane ramblings of a teenage boy. And even if your tastes clash with Deadpool's, the sheer wealth of attempted humor means something should tickle your funny bone. Disliking cows because they're only an "l" and an "n" away from being clowns might just be ridiculous enough to put a smile on your red-nose-hating face.
Just because Deadpool enjoys talking nonstop does not mean that he confronts enemies with pacifism on the mind. The way out of any situation involves copious amounts of slicing and dicing, with the occasional shooting thrown in for good measure. Deadpool bounces around tightly constructed environments like he's battling attention deficit disorder, knocking one enemy into the air and then delivering a whirling dervish to a group of would-be attackers before firing his plasma gun at a far-off sniper. It's a screaming-fast confluence of steel and spandex, so fast that the camera often lags behind your actions. Throw in a magical teleportation move, and you spend as much time trying to get your bearings as you do unleashing hell on your dim-witted foe Thankfully, fights are usually easy enough that you can dispatch the horde of attackers by just gleefully mashing the buttons. Your only defensive maneuver is the aforementioned teleport, so you whale away with your swords or guns and then vanish in a flash before you get your comeuppance. It's a smart technique that sadly doesn't always work because of finicky controls. Deadpool may not do what you want, when you want him to, so you wind up with a face full of fist instead of disappearing in a cloud to safety. Such unresponsiveness can lead to frustrating situations, but you can usually stay alive if you get even a little breathing room. Regenerating health is Deadpool's most handy superpower, so you can get back up to full strength pretty easily if you keep one eye glued to your life bar.
Fights are fast and bloody affairs that urge you to mix up your attacks to earn the highest rewards from your downed attackers. Dropped currency can be used to purchase upgrades in the pause menu, giving you access to new weapons, handheld explosives, and a variety of character enhancements. It's a system that urges you to experiment so you find the best weapons for your style (the slow and powerful hammers suit a different style than the fast but weak sais, for instance), and you unlock new techniques deep into the adventure. Because of the well-paced skill unlocks and the immediacy of the action, Deadpool is usually a pleasant enough, turn-off-your-brain kill-a-thIt's when the game tries to ramp up the challenge that things take a turn for the worse. When the game wants your back against the wall, it floods the screen with attackers. Deadpool may carry guns, but they're clearly secondary to his melee attacks, so a few far-away gunners can sap away your life in a hurry. Couple the difficulty of aiming while in a jam with the limited ammunition, and you may find yourself out of long-range killing instruments in the middle of a fight. Dozens of enemies, of both the gun-toting and sword-swinging variety, may try to stop your beating heart, and it's in the most hectic moments that the game becomes frustrating. Unkind checkpoints don't do the game any favors, either. If you fall to the last enemy, you may have to carry out the prolonged encounter all over again, changing the simple fun into pure tedium.
Despite the combat flaws, Deadpool makes a valiant attempt at being entertaining. A few brief diversions from the core action add some much-needed variety to the unceasing killing. Nintendo's most timeless franchises receive unexpected homages, and there's even a brief turret sequence that delivers a silly take on this tired trope. Who would have thought a Sentinel's detached shoe could be so fun? However, there are just too many flaws in the overarching mechanics to make this a consistently satisfying endeavor. Deadpool tries to hide its problems behind an exuberant personality, but all the talking in the world can't smooth over some fundamental flaws.

Ride to Hell Retribution



We climb on our hog and check out this open-world adventure game set in 1960s California.
A road warrior is nothing without his bike. See our hero Jake Conway doing what he does best - riding hard, and proving the old saying that, "Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul."


Ride to Hell 2013 Minimum System Requirements

OS : Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 Or Windows 8
Processor : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz (2 CPUs), -900MHz
Memory :2 GB RAM
Graphics : NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS or higher
DirectX® : 9.0c
Hard Drive : 12 GB HD space
this is listed on steam 16 gig of ram seems abit much for recommended specs


Start Installation Game

Unpack the release
Burn or mount the image
Install the game From Setup.exe
Play the game

Crysis 3






The award-winning developer Crytek is back with Crysis 3, the first blockbuster shooter of 2013! Return to the fight as Prophet, the Nanosuit soldier on a quest to rediscover his humanity. Adapt on the fly with the stealth and armor abilities of your unique Nanosuit as you battle through the seven wonders of New York’s Liberty Dome. Unleash the firepower of your all-new, Predator bow and alien weaponry to hunt both human and alien enemies. Crysis 3 is the ultimate sandbox shooter, realized in the stunning visuals only Crytek and the latest version of CryENGINE can deliver. Available now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.




Crysis 3 system requirements for PC hardware will be similar if not the same as Crysis 2, because both games are powered by the CryEngine 3 game engine. Crysis 3 system requirements will still be quite demanding though, as this has been the case with Crysis games since the very beginning. Here are the full PC specs require of the game:

Crysis 3 system requirements (minimum)

CPU: 2.8 GHz dual core processor, Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom X2 or better
RAM: 2GB
Graphics: DirectX 10 graphics card with 1 GB RAM, Nvidia 400-series or AMD Radeon 5000-series.
Operating system: Windows Vista
DirectX 9c sound card
16 GB free hard drive space

Crysis 3 system requirements (recommended)

CPU: 2.4 GHz quad core processor, Intel Core i5 or better
RAM: 2GB (4 GB for 64-bit operating systems)
Graphics: DirectX 11 compatible video card with 1GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 500-series or AMD 6000-series or better.
Operating system: Windows 7, Win 7 64-bit is preferred
DirectX 9c sound card, dedicated audio card is preferred
16 GB free hard drive space

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

10 mortgage tips for 2013

If you've been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the best time to refinance or get a mortgage to buy a home, think of 2013 as your last chance to act.
With good credit, persistence and some shopping skills, you can still snag phenomenal deals this year -- even if you are underwater on your loan.
Here are 10 mortgage tips to help you with your mortgage decisions in 2013.

Tip 1: Stop procrastinating and refinance

If you haven't refinanced recently, you're probably paying a higher interest rate on your mortgage than you should. Take advantage of today's record-low mortgage rates while they last. Rates are expected to remain low during the first few months of the year, but they should gradually increase. When they do, many borrowers will regret having missed the opportunity to grab the lowest mortgage rate in history.

Tip 2: Buyers, get moving

With rates near the bottom and home prices on the rise, it's still a perfect time to buy a house. If you can afford a home and qualify for a mortgage, this may be your last chance to take advantage of the market and own a home for less. To speed up the homebuying process, get a mortgage preapproval before you start shopping.

Tip 3: Compare FHA vs. conventional loans

Many homebuyers opt for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage because it allows them to buy a home with as little as 3.5 percent down. But the already costly FHA fees that are added to your loan will increase again in 2013. As the costs of FHA mortgages rise, some buyers may consider saving a little extra for a conventional loan. Buyers need at least 5 percent down to get a conventional mortgage, depending on their credit. If you can afford the slightly higher down payment, get quotes for FHA and conventional loans, and compare the costs.

Tip 4: Ensure that your credit is golden

Credit standards remain tight. As new mortgage rules are unveiled in 2013, the standards are not expected to loosen. If you plan to get a mortgage anytime soon, you must treat your credit as one of your most valuable assets. Most lenders want to see a spotless credit history of at least a year on your credit report. You'll need a credit score of at least 720 to get the best rate. Borrowers with a credit score of 680 or more can still get a good deal, but the lower your score, the harder it will be to get approved.
Review your credit report before you apply for a mortgage. Sometimes, paying part of your credit card balances can boost your credit score quickly. Generally, if you are using more than 30 percent of the available credit on your cards, you may be hurting your score. Also, check for credit errors and have them corrected before you apply for a loan.

Tip 5: Want to pay off your mortgage earlier?

If you are one of those homeowners who dream about being mortgage-free, the low-rate environment may be a good opportunity to refinance your 30-year mortgage into a 15- or 20-year loan. But make sure you can really afford the slightly higher payments on the shorter loan and that you have some money saved for emergencies.

Tip 6: Underwater refinancers: Don't take 'no' for an answer

If you owe more than your home is worth and have tried and failed to refinance, why not give it another shot in 2013? The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP 2.0, was revamped to allow homeowners to refinance regardless of how deeply underwater they are.
Even after revisions to the program, many borrowers still found obstacles when refinancing. But the situation is improving. Lenders are much more open to HARP 2.0 refinances these days than they were a few months ago. If one lender says you don't qualify for a HARP refi, don't take "no" for an answer, and try to find a lender willing to do it.

Tip 7: Give your lender a chance

If you have trouble paying your mortgage, don't ignore your mortgage servicer. There are new programs available for borrowers who struggle to keep up with their mortgage payments, including forbearance for those with FHA mortgages. Lenders have been more willing to work out delinquent loans through loan modifications and even short sales for homeowners who can't afford to stay in their homes. It can be a frustrating process to deal with your lender, but communication is still your best tool.

Tip 8: Shop for a low rate and good service

Even with rates hovering near record lows, you should still shop for the best mortgage deal. Get quotes from at least three lenders and compare not just the interest rate but closing costs and the quality of their service. Favor lenders that have a reputation of closing on time. Start with referrals from friends and relatives when shopping for a lender and read online reviews from other borrowers about the particular lender or mortgage broker you are considering.

Tip 9: Approved for a mortgage? Leave your credit alone

Most lenders order a second credit report for the borrower a few days before closing. Don't open new accounts or charge up your credit cards at the furniture store while you wait for closing day. New credit lines and maxed-out cards may hurt your score. If you were on the edge when you qualified, your mortgage loan could be rejected at the last minute.

Tip 10: It's not over until the loan closes

You've submitted your mortgage application and locked a rate. The race has just begun. Submit any documents requested by your loan officer or mortgage broker within 24 hours, if possible. Any delays in responding to the lender or in letting the appraiser into your house are wastes of valuable time. Lenders will remain overwhelmed with the large volume of refinance applications at least through the first few months of 2013. It doesn't take much more than lost paperwork or last-minute requests from your lender to delay your closing. If that happens, you risk losing the locked rate. Follow up with your lender or mortgage broker at least once a week to ensure the process goes smoothly.