The “Battlefield 3″ Beta was kind of a disappointment, and now I can’t help but wonder if the final product is going to deliver on my messianic expectations. The all-powerful graphics weren’t actually that great (on consoles), the gameplay seemed alarmingly unchanged from “Bad Company 2,” and for the love of God who do we have to screw to get a lobby up in this piece? More and more, DICE’s upcoming title is reminding me of “Turok 2: Seeds of Evil:” a good game swept into false greatness because it has a pretty face.
It would make sense. DICE is a great studio, and they never want for ambition, but they lack the attention to gameplay detail that makes Valve or Blizzard legends. The “Battlefield” franchise is bold, innovative, and a technological powerhouse, but I’ll be damned if “Call of Duty” isn’t better balanced and more polished. It kills me to admit that, because Infinity Ward/Treyarch are so often guilty of resting on their laurels while DICE pushes forward with adorable determination, but there’s something to be said for aiming at a target you know how to hit. Even the mighty Blizzard tend to play things pretty safe, and I think that policy pays off. Innovation is great, but it’s a loaded weapon, and you shouldn’t just wave it around.
Now I loved “Turok 2: Seeds of Evil” something fierce. I played it with the lights off and the sound system cranked, and I was convinced it was the apex of manmade wonders. But when I think back to why I loved it, it’s basically just the graphics. The experience was powerful, but it dated quickly; I’m still playing “Mario Kart 64″ to this day, and I haven’t touched “Turok 2″ since. I don’t want that for “Battlefield.” I don’t want DICE’s new shooter to be the hot girl at the bar that everyone loves until the new hottest girl shows up. I know they want to take “Call of Duty” down, and I admire that, but I hope their solution isn’t to scare them with a paper tiger.
calling all workers
Both Andrew and I attended the AMC Uncharted 3 event in Los Angeles, and I have to say it was a blast. Paying $60 for the ticket / early access to the game just seems to make sense to me, especially when I was already going to spend that amount on the game to begin with. We also had some opportunities to chitchat with the actors and crew behind the game (sorry, no official Padinga interviews coming) which was a treat. While the multiplayer tournament was fun, by far my favorite thing to come out of the event was the reveal of the launch trailer. What can I say, I’m sucker for trailers?
Uncharted 3 arrives November 1st exclusively on the Playstation 3.
Batman: Arkham City is most definitely one of the highest anticipated titles of the season, and for a good reason. I’ve noticed a long standing tradition ever since I could ever remember playing games. Superhero comic books lend themselves well to be produced into action oriented video games.
Here’s a trippy little game for you, a Half Life 2 mod called “The Stanley Parable” that was downloaded 100,000 in 3 weeks when it was released a couple months ago. It’s gotten a lot of well deserved buzz in the gaming world, and since I TAed one of creator Davey Wreden‘s film classes at USC a while back, I was especially curious to check it out.
It’s really better if you play the game with no preface. Just know that there are six potential endings, and I really recommend playing through to find them all. If you need some hints, the Author Commentary packaged with the game offers some clues, and is just an interesting read overall.
Download the mod here If you have Windows, you can play it without HL2 installed, but if you’re on Mac you’ve got to have the game.
I can confirm that Davey’s movies are just as existential and whacked out as this game. Actually, I think his aesthetic translates really beautifully to an interactive medium. Great job, man! I’m looking forward to whatever you come up with next.
If you really want to a jerk and ruin it for yourself, here’s a trailer. But I really recommend you just go ahead and play it.
“Batman: Arkham City” is a huge success, but it’s not without some flaws. I’m going to talk about the positives first, just so we’re clear on how great this game is, but there’s no honest way to discuss it without also admitting its weaknesses. Some of those flaws are holdovers from “Asylum,” others are new beasts born of Rocksteady’s ambitious expansions to the BAA formula.
Okay, good things. First and foremost, Rocksteady again excels at making you feel like Batman. FreeFlow Combat continues to be one of the great success stories of modern gaming. In BAA it was great, but here it’s bigger, faster, and totally reinvigorated. Simultaneously providing godlike wish fulfillment and nausea-inducing challenge, FreeFlow continues to be the backbone of the “Arkham” series. The basics are the same, but everything’s been tweaked, the size of the battles has been doubled, and a whole slew of new moves and strategic dimensions added. There really are too many to list, I won’t even try. Simply put, it’s the best melee combat system I’m aware of today. End of story.
Is it just me, or is it a slow news day? Well, in the meantime, here’s one to tide you over. Seems the British tech/gaming TV show, The Gadget Show, has cobbled together their own VR chamber to play FPS games in. And then they’ve locked some unsuspecting prat into the room.
So, whaddaya think? One day, all gaming homes have one of these built into the house?
What’s the matter, friend? That same old WoW game got you down? Tired of running around Azeroth again and again? Got nothing better to play online until December? What’s an online gamer to do?!
Well fret no more, dear gamer! Now, there’s Rift! What’s Rift, you ask? Well, it tastes like WoW, it feels like WoW, it even talks like WoW, but guess what? It’s not WoW! If you’re looking for a WoW-like experience, but without the same old setting, Rift is for you! And now through Oct. 19, you get can this amazing game for only $4.99! That’s right, $4.99. Not two payments, not three payments, but one payment only of $4.99! ($14.99/month subscription not included)
Plus, for just $10 more, you can upgrade, to the Digital Collector’s Edition OR the Ashes of History Edition. The Digital Collector’s Edition gives you a free mount, great for getting around Telara quickly and easily, and a 24-slot bag, which you’ll need for all those crafting tokens! We’ll even through in a complimentary pet with your Digital Collector’s Edition… FREE! OR you can get the Ashes of History Edition, which gives you a different mount, faction tabards, and your own personal, portable banker! No more spending valuable time or money getting back to the capital city just to get that stack of Magma Opals! Any time, any where, you can bank… bank… BANK! And each edition is only an additional $10! If you bought all these things individually, you’d be paying over $3000, but today it’s just 10 measly dollars!
And Rift isn’t exactly like WoW, either! It’s got some major differences that are sure to give it a place in your black little heart. Rift has:
- A heavy emphasis on open-world raiding at all levels, with miniature instances spawning on the map, and featuring easily-created public grouping, as early as level 5!
- Have multiple classes at once! A character equips up to 3 classes at a time, and depending on how points are allocated, determines the focus on each role! A mage could have one control class, one healing class, and one damage class to have an even spread of possibilities, or equip 3 damage classes which work with and support each other for MAXIMUM DAMAGE!!!
- Periodic invasions, spawning creatures and bosses onto the world map which must be defeated to maintain certain bonuses while leveling!
- New and improved graphics! No being held back by ancient graphic engines!
What more could you ask for for 5 bucks?! It’s just as fun as WoW, and right now, it’s super cheap! Take a 7 day trial and find out for yourself, but don’t let that Oct. 19 deadline pass you by! Trust me, I should know how fun this game is; I’m not just a guy up on stage selling this thing… I’m also a player!
It was recently announced that “Halo: Anniversary” will feature voice-controlled reloading, grenade tossing, and engine-swapping (between the classic engine and the newer one), all through our wayward friend the Kinect. Not so great, if you ask me. The idea of Master Chief shouting at his pistol to reload itself is just ridiculous. Games have a responsibility to design input mechanisms that don’t directly conflict with the actions they’re triggering, and most Kinect titles acknowledge this by focusing on leaning, pushing objects, or telling people to do things. Commanding inanimate objects is just bizarre, it disconnects the game from its self-created reality.
Still, there’s a silver lining. “Anniversary” will also use the Kinect for a “Metroid: Prime” style scanning system, whereby the player can point Master Chief at something, say “scan,” and download a collectible to a personal library. It’s not much more than a glorified easter egg hunt, but given how ridiculously addicting it proved in Retro Studios’ masterpieces, I must applaud its inclusion here. Just like love stories never get old, gamers never tire of “Pokemon”-style obsessive quests for the elusive “caught ‘em all.” If it ain’t broke, folks.
a real human being, and a real hero
If you’ve been a fan of World of Warcraft for some time, Blizzard may have come up with one of the most unique charity auctions ever. Starting next week on October 17th, Blizzard will be auctioning the original server blades used for World of Warcraft. That’s right, the realm itself, housed in its metal coffin. The blade have been retired, taken out of service for newer, faster hardware, but that shouldn’t stop your trip down memory lane. The blades are engraved and signed by various members of the WoW crew, adding to the nerd points you’ll be accruing. However, the thing that excites me the most is the opportunity to bid on the exact realm you want to own. Daggerspine and Duskwood, you’re coming home!
It’s a good time to be in New York City. Not only is it one of my favorite places in the world, but the New York Comicon has just begun. You should be there. Here’s why…
Capcom has released a new set of videos showing gameplay of two more confirmed characters for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Phoenix Wright and Nova. In one video, the characters are fighting against a background that is obviously made to resemble the “imperfect” future shown in many X-Men comics, where Sentinels are hunting mutants.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, yeah we already knew about those characters, kinda cool background, big deal. But here’s the thing, people. In this video, Capcom may have inadvertedly shown its hand. Check out this section of the screenshot:
This poster from the background doesn’t show many mutants; in fact, it seems to be displaying only characters that were in previous Marvel vs. Capcom games, but not MvC3. The thing to notice is that every single face on the poster (you’ll have to watch the video to confirm some of the ones that aren’t visible in this screenshot) is marked as “Slain” or “Apprehended” EXCEPT… Mega Man.
What could this mean?? I’m going to go out on a journalistic limb here and suggest that it implies Mega Man is the only ex-character still “alive”, and therefore has a chance of COMING BACK. Could Capcom be tipping their hand to the fact that Mega Man will be returning to Marvel vs. Capcom in the form of DLC? Only time will tell, but I can’t think of any other reason why he would be the SOLE survivor on that poster.
Check out the vid for yourself after the break.
If you have female friends (or are the proud owner of your very own ladybits) you might have seen this article from CNN contributor and former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett popping up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds in the past week. It examines statistics which show that young women today are increasingly more well-educated, ambitious, and successful than their male counterparts. The big culprits, in Mr. Bennett’s opinion, are decaying social and moral values… and… waiiiiit for it… video games (oh snap! bet you didn’t expect THAT!).
What are you waiting for? Off you go. And be sure to read some of the ignorant comments below the article, if you want to be offended regardless of gender. I’ll be here with my thoughts when you get back.
I didn’t care for “Dragon Age 2″ myself, but in case you did, and in case you also like Felicia Day, here’s the result of those two things slammed together in a particle accelerator: “Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin,” a new DLC for Bioware’s fantasy RPG that’ll be available sometime this coming…now. You can get it today. Despite my ambivalence towards DA2, this trailer is pretty bangin’. It’s got an elfin assassin, played by Ms. Day, leaping around and doing all those things which elfin assassins are wont to do.
From what I can tell, this will basically be just like “Stolen Memory” for “Mass Effect 2.” Actually, it seems like it will be exactly like it, maybe even a carbon copy. I mean, look at it: you get an annoying new female team member who bosses you around but won’t let you sex her up, you infiltrate some freaking place because she wants to and no other reason at all, you complete some oddly implemented stealth levels that make you feel like a tool, and then your new asexual companion finds emotional resolution for a plot arc you were just introduced to five minutes ago, while you watch from the sidelines thinking, “Whoop de freaking doo.”
Sounds like a blast. Still, if you’re into Felicia (and who isn’t?), it might be worth checking out.
Racing games have been broken for decades, and “Forza Motorsport” is here to fix them; not necessarily “Forza 4″ in particular, but the franchise in general, and specifically the last two. In these amazing games, a race can be rewound from almost anywhere, allowing you to redo mistakes and fine-tune your performance. I was aware of this mechanic’s existence in “Forza 3,” but since I barely played that title, I was unable to experience how drastic a revolution it incites.
This is a game-changing piece of design, not unlike regenerating health in first person shooters. At first you think it’s apocryphal, even blasphemous, but then as it sinks in you begin to achieve a kind of zen-like freedom. The sweet smell of joy fills your nose, and you start to wonder why you tolerated things the old way.
I think racing games have been guilty of a fundamentally flawed assumption: that we have to finish a race in one try, or do the whole thing over. This is a Byzantine idea, valuable only in multiplayer, and long overdue for disposal. Yes, that’s the way a race would be in real life, but it’s not the job of a video game to preserve reality. If it was, you’d have beat “Call of Duty” in a single sitting, without dying. As it is, we don’t even have to complete entire levels all at once, nor should we.
Hit the jump as we explore how racing games should be made, post “Forza 3/4.”
Yesterday, it was confirmed, via the Australian game magazine PC Power, that Mass Effect 3 would have multiplayer, following months of speculation on the topic, fueled by cryptic phrases on foreign game ads. This was the exact verbage used, “That’s right - Mass Effect 3 is getting multiplayer! We travel to BioWare’s office in Edmonton for hands-on time with the series’ first foray into online gameplay, and chat with Mass Effect Series Producer and Mass Effect 3 Project Director Casey Hudson about the decision to go multiplayer in the epic battle for the galaxy.”
The blurb was later confirmed via Bioware’s Twitter feed and, while details are still shady, the company spoke up early this morning to address a few questions.
I know a few of you really seemed to enjoy/enjoy railing the Mortal Kombat and Fallout videos I posted up here, so I thought I’d share this one, despite its lack of substance.
Halo: Helljumper is a new fan-made film series coming soon. If the six seconds of teaser footage peaks your interest, give ‘em a subscription.
The holidays are fast approaching, and you know what that means, my gaming friends. It means a deluge of experiences, a flood of new games hitting the market and overwhelming our senses. As many of us finally hold in our hot little hands the objects of our prolonged desire, the problem becomes, frankly, deciding which of our new children comes first. Such a terrible dilemma! Just take a look at what has just come out, and what is coming in the weeks to come… Gears, Battlefield, Dark Souls, Batman, Skyrim, Modern Warfare, just to name a few. Many of these are absolutely huge games designed to take up as much of your time as possible, so they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. What’s a gamer to do?!
Rely on technology, that’s what. Let it make the decision FOR YOU. Rely on randomization and fate to determine your destiny! It’s what the Jedi would do, right? I think that’s right. Your new best friend is after the break.
The Game Show – We Will Remember You, Steve Jobs
In yet another buggy episode of the Game Show, Break and the crew discuss the untimely passing of Steve Jobs… oh, and a few things about video games, too. I think there was something in there about Battlefield and Rage as well.
Watch the archive on twitch.tv if you dare…