Today’s WTF: Call of Duty Elite Will Add A Monthly Subscription

Call of Duty Elite

In a move that’s sure to raise eyebrows, Activision Blizzard (via the Wall Street Journal) have announced that they will finally try to add the long-rumored monthly subscription to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 when the game launches this fall. While the exact services and price are still being discussed some portions are suspected to be things like in-depth stats-tracking and a Facebook-like webpage.

Call of Duty Elite will not be mandatory, at least not at this juncture, as Activision confirmed that non-subscribers will still be able to play online, but the company is being very hush-hush about what capabilities the hold-outs will have. Call of Duty Elite purchasers will get access to post-launch map packs as part of their subscription.

Call of Duty is one of the only video game franchises that can pull this off, having an enormous player base that seems content to drop sixty plus dollars on the titles every year. Call of Duty Elite is said to be an enormous investment for Activision, despite the fact that similar services are provided by Bungie for the Halo franchise for free.
Continue reading Today’s WTF: Call of Duty Elite Will Add A Monthly Subscription

EA’s Pwned Takes a Look at Battlefield 3

Despite my earlier reservations with the overuse of the military theme in modern first person shooters, I just can’t deny that Battlefield 3 is looking pretty dang awesome, with the Back to Karkand expansion pack forming the icing on that cake. EA’s online series Pwned went out to DICE in Sweden to interview a few of the staff members about their work on the game and take a look back on the Battlefield games of the past. It’s crazy to compare Battlefield 2 to 3 and how much of a graphical difference there is.

Since this video comes from EA, it’s kind of a “how awesome is your game, so awesome” type of thing but it does give us a nice behind-the-scenes look at Battlefield 3. I thought I would share this with you guys because I know a few of you are looking forward to this game, though perhaps not as much as I am. How do you think Battlefield 3 is shaping up?

Hindsight: Looking Back at Dragon Age II

Dragon Age 2

I know that a fair number of us at GamerSushi have played through the depths of Dragon Age II, exploring the streets of Kirkwall and siding with Mages, Templars or both. I also know that a few of us (including myself) have had some discussions about the shortcomings of Dragon Age II, places where it might have been lacking in comparison to the epic original.

These gripes are well-documented around da Webz, and it seems that Bioware has been listening to people’s issues and complaints. After some flack received about different comments made about Dragon Age II’s design choices, here’s what lead designer Mike Laidlaw had to say on a recent forum post, addressing the swell of criticisms that have been leveled against the sequel:

I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans. Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.

I’m not really posting this to alert everyone of its existence, but rather use this as a spoiler-filled forum for us to talk about how we feel about Dragon Age II, looking back. We don’t do that often enough on GamerSushi, so I want to start making it a point to revisit these games and talk about them in a more open way. Continue reading Hindsight: Looking Back at Dragon Age II

Review: L.A. Noire

la noire review

It’s a very rare game that allows the player to step into the shoes of a police officer; rarer still is the game that treats the player as an adult and faces them with the horrors of real-life crime. L.A. Noire, developed over an eight-year time period by Sydney, Australia based Team Bondi with assistance from Rockstar, follows the life of Cole Phelps, a Pacific Theater war hero turned star Police detective in the year 1947. One of the major features of L.A. Noire is the detective aspect and the use of sophisticated facial mapping technology in order to properly convey subtle (and not so subtle) emotions on your suspect’s faces when you’re putting the spotlight on them.

While L.A. Noire can dismissively be described as “1940s GTA”, nothing could be further from the truth. Much like Rockstar’s last marquee game, L.A. Noire steps out of GTA’s shadow by establishing its own identity by giving gamers something new and different in an increasingly crowded market. Come inside the GamerSushi interview room and see if we can sweat the facts out of this flatfoot.
Continue reading Review: L.A. Noire

Video Game Collectibles: Do You Love Them or Hate Them?

video game collectibles

With all of the free time on my hands recently, I’ve found that I’m more willing to dive into the minutia of gaming, picking over stuff that I would have previously forgone had I been more engaged during the day with other activities (like working). Given GamerSushi’s recent obsession with a certain post-WW2 detective game, most of the article will center around that, but we can delve into other games that do this sort of thing as well.

While random collectibles are more endemic to sandbox games, it’s not unusual to see any manner of game in any genre throw in bits of random junk for you to accrue to either flesh out the story or just to have you hang on to your games a little longer instead of trading them in. Call of Duty has its Intel, which unlocks cheats, and Crysis 2 has dog tags, landmarks and emails which gave you more insight into what exactly was going on when you weren’t killing mechanical squids.

Now that I’ve finished L.A. Noire, I’m driving around in free roam trying to find all the golden film canisters and the street crimes. Rockstar has done this pretty well in their last couple of games, which is good after the horrible showing in GTAIV; it was kind of weird for them to stumble in this regard, Rockstar is typically great about extending the life of a game after the main story is done.

I’ve always been partial to completing games 100%, especially after the introduction of Achievements (not that the lack of them has held me back in PC and PS3 games…), but I’m wondering how you guys feel about them. Do you go for them, or pick up any that you come across? Do you like finding them, or are they the bane of your existence?

Who’s Going to Come Out Ahead at E3 2011?

We here at GamerSushi have spent the last few episodes of our podcast, The GamerSushi Show, pontificating on the E3 2011 showings of the ‘Big Three’, mostly concerning Sony’s recent troubles and Nintendo’s Project Cafe. While Microsoft is reportedly bringing a bunch of hardcore themed games for Kinect, they’ve been rather quiet on this front so they’ll either slip into a respectable second place or bring the thunder and steal first.

There’s also a slim chance that all the major contenders might flop this year, leaving the playing field wide open for the publishers. EA is certainly coming to E3 2011 with a lot of big name titles that we’re all looking forward to such as Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic

Since we’ve shared our thoughts on this before, I cooked up a nice little poll for you guys to give your input on. Who’s going to come out ahead at E3 2011? Will it be the manufacturers, or the publishers? If you have any thoughts in the comments, please let us know!

Who is going to come out on top at E3 2011?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Filling out the Party: Friends that Game?


One of the inevitable consequences of doing something as a career is that it will eventually worm its way into your personal life as well. I suppose this is all fine and dandy if you do something like play video games or landed a role being professionally awesome somewhere, but that’s not always the case. A good chunk of my job pertains to social media and how to use it. In monitoring online conversations, I’ve found that I tend to treat my own Facebook and Twitter accounts the same way at times, separating things out into their proper places.

Something odd I’ve found is that over time, I’ve come to view Twitter as the place where I post about video games, and Facebook is for most of the other stuff. I realized that the reason I do this is simply because not that many of my real life friends are gamers. Sure, there are those that would classify themselves as gamers, but that means that while they may play games like Red Dead Redemption on a whim because it’s $20 at GameStop, most of the rest of their gaming is tied up in sports games or the occasional bout of Call of Duty.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disparaging their tastes in gaming. But I simply don’t connect with that kind of gamer, as it’s only a fairly casual interest on their part. For as much as gaming has grown over the years, I still find that I’m a closet gamer around many of my real life friends. It’s not so much that there’s a stigma associated with it (although sometimes that is the case with a few individuals), but just that I know it won’t really help us connect. I can really only name a handful of people I see on a regular basis that get why KOTOR changed my life or why I went to GameStop at midnight to go pick up L.A. Noire, or Portal 2, or what have you.

So, I guess I wanted to ask you guys: do your friends game? Are they just as into video games as you are? If not, how does it tend to affect your real life relationships? Go!

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 29: Colluders

Here’s a new podcast that’s not exactly new, seeing as how we recorded it a couple of weeks ago. That being said, it’s still a hoot. Is that what the kids are saying these days?

We talk about a variety of topics once the cast kicks off, from PSN to Brink and even a bit of the Gears of War 3 Beta, and just how much I want to have its babies. True story. After that, we kick things up a non-Minecraft notch with a game of Either/Or. For real, it’s good times. I only wish you all could join us during these games, because Nick does a great job of picking topics.

Oh, that’s right. You can. In the comments. Join in, dudes.

Alright, time to listen up. And when you’re done, go rate. Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 29: Colluders

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Reveal Trailer Drops the Bombs

We knew it was coming, guys, but here it is, the giant reveal trailer for the upcoming third installment of the Modern Warfare series. After the hullabaloo around the whole Kotaku debacle, something like this feels a bit neutered but I thought I’d throw it up here for you anyways to pick apart and give us your thoughts.

So there it is, the reveal trailer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. There’s definitely a more global feel to the game this time as opposed to the American-centric feel of the last one. Now that we’ve seen the game in motion, what do you think? Do want? Do not want?

The Missing Games of E3s Past

Spec Ops: The Line

E3 2011 is fast approaching, and there are a lot of big name titles that we’re expecting more information on: Saint’s Row 3, Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3 and Skyrim, just to name a few. But for every giant game that steals the show, there’s a few titles that we haven’t seen hide nor hair of, games that were announced to much fan fare and have quietly faded into either obscurity or development hell.

Some of these games have a made a big splash in the past like XCOM or Metal Gear Solid: Rising, but there are a few ones that have flown under the radar that I’m keeping an eye out for this year like Max Payne 3 (which repeatedly reappears for a moment before disappearing again) or Spec Ops: The Line, a Nolan North vehicle adapted from the novella Heart of Darkness. Another Rockstar helmed production that’s also noticeably MIA is Agent, a Cold War themed game that was trumpeted as a Sony exclusive before vanishing.

E3 is a great time to announce new, exciting games and bang the drums about the popular upcoming ones, but which of these titles do you want to hear about? Granted, we’ve gotten a trailer for MGS: Rising but not much else, and Max Payne 3 is continually rumored to be making an appearance, but what about Spec Ops, or XCOM? Is there another game that you want to hear about? What games in the past have made a grand entrance at E3 but then vanished?

Forgiving the Game its Faults

LA Noire

Not to overload everyone with impressions on L.A. Noire before a proper review goes up, but I’ve had a few thoughts about games as a whole while I’ve been busting through it the last few nights. You see, as much as I love the game (it’s already one of my frontrunners for GotY, even halfway through), it’s got quite a few bugs and glitches that I’ve run into.

In one case, I was told to immediately return to the Coroner for urgent news, so I went there instead of the next place on my list of locations. When I arrived, the cutscene that played essentially pretended like I had been to the previous location, and actually spoiled some of the case for me by assuming I’d already done those things. Later in the game, I had the choice to charge one of two suspects for murder. However, the game wouldn’t allow me to pick the suspect I really wanted to nail for the crime. I had to pick the other one by default, and yet, all the cut scenes since then have acted like I picked the suspect I couldn’t pick to begin with.

Needless to say, these outcomes are a little annoying, for as much work as the cases are, particularly when you’re as meticulous about finding the clues and exploring every avenue of the interrogation as I am. The interesting thing is, these issues don’t keep me from loving the game, even though they tend to be frustrating. I remember feeling the same way about Mass Effect, a wonderful game with lots of glitches. One particularly keen review I read of that game had the reviewer seeing those bugs as the sweat on an Olympic athlete. I feel the same way here with L.A. Noire.

So my question is this: at what point do we stop forgiving a game all of its faults and bugs? For other games, I probably would have been fed up after some of those story issues happened, but L.A. Noire has me so enthralled I just kept playing. When do you guys get too fed up with games to continue? What bugs and issues would you consider game breaking? Go!

Gaming Pop Quiz: Soapbox Edition

Alright friends, it’s been a few months since we’ve done a GamerSushi Pop Quiz, so I figured it was time to drop one in the bucket for you piranhas to devour.

Now that some of the huge titles of 2011 have been released (Portal 2, Little Big Planet 2, Dragon Age 2, Crysis 2, L.A. Noire, Brink and The Witcher 2), I had some questions on my mind about the nature of hype and how games live up to it. The year is already halfway over, and we’ve had some major surprises and major letdowns to boot. I’m curious how you guys feel about how 2011 is shaping up. At the end, you’ll even have a soapbox opportunity to talk about whatever gaming issue is on your mind.

As always with our getting-to-know-you type games, feel free to answer with as much or as little as you like. Answer to the best of your ability. Have at it, gents and ladies. Continue reading Gaming Pop Quiz: Soapbox Edition

What Are You Playing: Almost Summer Edition

The Witcher 2

Hello, GamerSushi faithful, did you miss me? I know that you guys probably didn’t even notice I was gone for a couple of days, but I was off in Vancouver watching a hockey game (pause for Canada jokes). Unfortunately, this little getaway clashed with the release of L.A. Noire, and I only got to try that out last night. While I’m finding the controls a little too clunky for my liking, the interrogations are super awesome and the facial animations continue to astound me.

Besides L.A. Noire, we’ve also seen the release of the Witcher 2 on PC, and I’ve been hearing rave reviews about it both here and other places. It’s definitely on my list of “must haves”, so I’ll hopefully be able to pick that up soon. Based on the screenshot I used for this article, the game should be titillating in all the right ways.

So what are you guys playing? I know we already have a whole thing about L.A. Noire, but if you’ve got any Witcher 2 thoughts, this is the place to put them. Hit me up with those comments, son!

GamerSushi Asks: Skipping for Games?

Uncharted 3

It’s the temptation all gamers know, deep in their hearts: the desire to ditch all responsibilities and do nothing but revel in the glow of a great game. I think we’ve all been there from time to time (some of us more so than others). In reality, sometimes it’s just easier to sink a whole day into a title, rather than just knocking out little bits of it at a time, even if it’s at the expense of “real life”.

I got to thinking about this topic after our most recent podcast, where we posed the same question in regards to gaming binges and this fall’s releases. I’m actually fairly happy about the Mass Effect 3 delay, because that was a day I was probably going to request off from work. Now that that’s not happening, I’m thinking of taking a vacation day for either Uncharted 3 or Skyrim. Luckily, I’ve still got time to make my decision.

What about you guys? What games have made you take a day off from responsibilities before? What games would you consider doing the same for this fall? Go!

Activision Responds To Modern Warfare 3 Leak


Other than releasing several teaser trailers confirming what we already knew, Activision has been strangely silent, like a slumbering giant, regarding the leak of tons of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 info. But that giant is now awake and…is surprisingly docile about the whole thing.

In a candid and open interview with Joystiq, CEO Eric Hirshberg basically said that when life (or the Internet) hands you lemons, make lemonade:

“We woke up with a marketing crisis and wanted to go to bed with a marketing win. “So what we did was we kind of took that exact conversation we were having in our conference room outside and had it publicly in social media. Through our various channels, through Robert Bowling at IW, through Facebook and through our YouTube channel, we reached out to our fans and we said, ‘Look, we didn’t schedule this. This wasn’t something we had planned. But everyone seems excited, so we’re just going to roll with it. So here they are, a couple of assets that weren’t scheduled to be out for another couple of weeks, we’re going to release ’em to you today.'”

The interview goes on and he says obviously they aren’t happy with it and are investigating the leak, but until then, he doesn’t want to comment on it. He also didn’t mention Kotaku or any possible consequences the website may be facing from Activision for their role in the leak.

We all know what I think about this, but I am pleased to see that Activision didn’t let it bother them and decided to roll with the punches and make the most of a forced opportunity. What do you think? Are they being too soft or just right? GO!

Source: Joystiq

Roll Call: L.A. Noire

LA Noire

L. A. Noire is here, folks. Team Bondi and Rockstar have delivered the last big release before the summer drought, and now the entire world is immersing itself in the harrowing mysteries of 1940s L.A. Or at least, that’s what’s going on in my house, anyway.

I’ve only played a few hours of L.A. Noire at this point, but already it’s made a great impression on me. In the same way that calling Red Dead Redemption “GTA with horses” was a bit off the mark, calling L. A. Noire “GTA in the 1940s” misses the point as well. The game plays out like a much more polished Heavy Rain in some ways, and in other ways feels like playing through a pulp mystery novel. The investigation mechanics are a nice change of pace from other Rockstar releases, and the whole thing has already sucked me in a bit. And of course, as everyone’s saying, the facial animations are astounding. We’ll see how well the whole thing holds up over 20-30 hours.

What about you guys? Who else is playing some L.A. Noire? Roll call!

PSN Returning with Two Free Games

PSN LogoIn case you didn’t notice, Playstation Network has begun its return. It seems that the resurrection of the downed PSN kicks off with a Customer Appreciation program leading the way. Once the PSN Store is back up and running you can snag yourself two free games from a list of several titles (within the first 30 days) such as Little Big Planet, inFAMOUS and Super Stardust HD. I personally will pick up Little Big Planet and inFAMOUS. You can check out more Q&A about the PSN restoration here.

There are some other bonuses too, including some “on us” movie rentals, and some PSN Plus time as well. It’s all a fairly gracious package from Sony to try to smooth things over, but there are obviously going to be people that come down on both sides of this. Does two free games and a “we’re sorry” make up for the time lost and possible personal information damage? What are your thoughts on the whole issue? Still trust Sony?

Source – Playstation Blog

GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Game?

MGS 3 We’ve talked an awful lot on GamerSushi about our gaming preferences before, but I don’t know if we’ve ever asked you guys why you continue to play games, and what got you started on this beloved hobby of ours. I started thinking about this over the weekend while playing through the Mass Effect 2 Arrival DLC, and finding myself missing the Mass Effect universe all over again. It’s like putting on a favorite sweater once winter starts up again. It’s comfortable, warm and familiar all at once.

I’m at the point now where playing video games is as natural as the process of taking off my shoes and khakis after being in the office all day. Just as normal as getting up and preparing breakfast. It’s a part of my routine, inseparable from who I am as a person. If I didn’t have games, I simply wouldn’t be me.

When I consider why it is that I game, it ultimately comes down to escape. Not that I have anything about my life that I’m particularly disdainful of, mind you. I think I just love that feeling of total absorption, where I forget I’m sitting on the couch and playing Metal Gear Solid 3 for several hours straight. I enjoy the momentary flight to some place far away, whether it be a sci-fi world where I shoot aliens or something closer to home where I chase outlaws down on horseback. There’s something about that transportation that sinks its hooks into me and has never let go since I was a kid.

So what about you guys? What is it about games that you love, and that keeps you gaming? When did you first start? Go!

Why Kotaku Did A Bad Thing

Modern Warfare 3

Without a doubt, the biggest story of the past week has been the extensive leaking of highly spoiler-ish and relevant story and level details from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 by the popular gaming site Kotaku. Modern Warfare 3 is easily the most anticipated game of the year, in terms of popularity and, of course, financially, so a story like this would naturally attract tons of attention. It’s easy to see why: Modern Warfare 2 was the biggest game of all time at its launch, now surpassed only by Call of Duty: Black Ops and likely to be surpassed again by Modern Warfare 3. It’s not exactly a mystery why this leak generated such a huge response.

But something bothers me a great deal about this. I think this is a huge story, but not for the reasons that most others do. I think Kotaku erred in leaking these details. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Kotaku commited a very great wrong, one that not only damages Activision and the Call of Duty brand, but also the entire video game industry and its myriad partners, including the world of video game journalism. And the fact that only a select few have even noticed this bothers me even more.

You see, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I truly believe that journalism, even video game and entertainment journalism, is a noble profession with a set of ethics that all who practice it should adhere to. Journalism is there to protect people by exposing lies and keeping the powers that be honest. Reporters take the time to check the facts because we the people don’t have the time and resources to do so ourselves. They are a vital part of this world and one that should be embraced instead of marginalized. Continue reading Why Kotaku Did A Bad Thing

GamerSushi Asks: LAN Gaming Favorites?

Fight Night Round 4

Hey readers, how’s your weekend going? Me, I’ve been doing a few things, including winning my first ever StarCraft 2 match! I know that’s not very impressive, but considering I haven’t finished placing yet, this is a pretty big deal for me. The guy I beat was probably even more Forever Bronze than I am, but still, I’ll take a victory when I can get one.

Besides that, I’ve been doing the Gears of War 3 beta with Eddy and having a LAN gaming marathon with my friends. I know that LAN parties typically refer to linking a bunch of PCs together, but I use it as a catch-all term for getting together with friends in the same room and playing a bunch of favorites. So far we’ve done Age of Empires 2, StarCraft 2, Halo 3 and right now we’re beating each other up in Fight Night Round 4. My poor boxer facsimile, he just can’t win a match. That may be my fault though.

Since I’m gaming with pals today, I was wondering what sort of games you play when you want to trash your friends. RTS games, FPS games, good old classic brawlers? Also, if any of you PC players want to rage on me for misusing “LAN party” by referring to consoles, go ahead. I can take it.