GameCop Vs LameCop Vs PsychoCop: Summer Edition!

Gaming’s finest have returned, and they’ve got a slew of opinions and rants on several industry-related topics from the last few weeks: the Duke Nukem Forever PR debacle, the Lulzsec boat and the lone save file of Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D.

By this point, you should all get the shtick, but in case you don’t: GameCop is a sensible gamer, looking out for your best interests. LameCop is your average forum troll, causing havoc for the lulz, while PsychoCop should be locked up for everyone’s safety.

Keep reading to find out what they have to say on these issues:

Continue reading GameCop Vs LameCop Vs PsychoCop: Summer Edition!

Crysis 2, Transformers 3, and Why Movies Resemble Video Games

transformers 3

Today I went and saw the latest Michael Bay robot-fest, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in theaters and something struck me on the way back home: this movie reminded me of Crysis 2 to a great degree. An ancient alien threat, hectic ground-level combat and amazing visual effects? Given that most of the final hour of Transformers 3 is seen from the perspective of Special Forces soldiers rather than Autobots, my brain couldn’t get away from Crysis 2 and the image of hopping around lower Manhattan killing vaguely robotic aliens in the ruins of a famous city (even though TF3 takes place in Chicago).

Like most Michael Bay films, Transformers 3 is too long, bloated and full of forced, painful humor, but the actions scenes are top notch. Still, I couldn’t get it out of my head that I was watching someone play a video game. Video games have been trying to be like movies for years, but it occurred to me today that they might already be there, or at least have attained the level of Summer popcorn-flick. People complain about the Hollywood-ising of the industry, but we’re too late: every big action game is essentially a Bay movie with threadbare plots and engaging action.

I know that video games are hoping to move past this phase, but in a medium where it’s easier to give the player a gun and turn them loose, are we ever going to get past this stage? Crysis 2 was a pretty fun game, but given that a mindless movie like Transformers 3 can evoke it so heavily, it kind casts a dark shadow over the aspirations of many a development studio. Even games that we decree to be better than movies, like Uncharted 2 or Mass Effect 2, would ultimately fall flat on their face if they ever transition to the silver screen.

Past all my rambling thoughts regarding Transformers 3 and Crysis 2 lays a question for you guys: are video games becoming like movies or is it the other way around? As computer generated effects become cheaper and more believable, will we see more big set-piece films that try to wow our eyes instead of appealing to our brain? Will these movies become the Call of Duty of the film world, or are they already there? Am I just crazy? Go!

Double Fine, Trenched, and Owning the Downloadable Market

Sometimes the big tent-pole, triple-A title model doesn’t work, and a studio folds in on itself. This is a very common occurrence, and it’s rare that any given developer in this situation will regain their footing and continue making games. Thankfully, Double Fine, creators of Psychonauts, managed to dig themselves out of the Brutal Legend hole and converted their business model to making smaller, less financially risky downloadable games. This meant they were free to experiment with different genres and flex their witty writing muscles without subjecting themselves to the sometimes cruel whims of the video game playing masses.

Starting off with Costume Quest and leading into Stacking and Trenched (which I’ll get to in a moment), Double Fine has proven that they know how to make great games, and they’ve finally found themselves an audience that is receptive to their hard work. I did miss out on Costume Quest and Stacking (though I have heard they’re excellent) but I decided to check out Trenched, a mech combat/tower defense game, because those two play-styles mashed together sounds like a hell of a good time and it has co-op, which is always a plus in my books.
Continue reading Double Fine, Trenched, and Owning the Downloadable Market

The Story of L.A. Noire and 7 Years of Development Hell

Team Bondi

We’ve written quite a few articles about L.A. Noire here in the last few months, but I thought there was still a bit more conversation to be had around this excellent game. While there are plenty of games that undergo long and complex development cycles, the crime-thriller mystery from Team Bondi had a slightly longer and more difficult path than most: 7 years, two different publishers and over one hundred employees that left.

Crazy, huh? The full story is presented in an excellent piece by IGN, where they interviewed both studio head Brendan McNamara as well as the “Bondi Eleven”, a group of former Team Bondi developers who came forward to tell the story of the company’s inception, its turbulent times on L.A. Noire and just why the process spun out of control for them. It’s a bit disconcerting to read things like this, because it seems to be the norm of the video game industry these days. Long hours, blatant disregard for employees’ welfare and generally terrible morale. Definitely a sobering piece for anybody considering jumping feet-first into the games industry.

So what do you guys think about this? I know a lot of you are aspiring game developers. Does this give you pause? Have any of you been in working conditions like this?

Source – IGN

Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta Charts Tomorrow

Uncharted 3

Now that the post E3 haze is finally starting to lift and the summer gaming season is in full swing, another distraction looms over us all: Uncharted 3’s multiplayer beta drops tomorrow for PSN Plus members, which should be everyone out there with a PS3, thanks to Sony’s Welcome Back program. So no excuses. I expect to see you all out there so I can shoot you in the face just like all my friends.

For those of you who didn’t bother trying Uncharted 2’s MP, take it from me, it’s pretty fun. A neat combination of Gears of War with the vertical element of Uncharted’s climbing mechanics thrown in for good measure, I always had a blast. Eddy joined me for some co-op and I believe he can attest to this as well.

The details of the beta are as follows:

  • Starts tomorrow, June 28th for PSN Plus subscribers, July 4th for the rest of PSN and runs until July 13th.
  • Co-op and competitive maps will be rotated throughout the beta, as detailed in the link below.
  • You will receive rewards for playing the beta that will carry over to the full game upon it’s release.

I have to say, I’m pretty excited. Now I have to rush and finish Half Life 2 ASAP, so I can start on this. Check out the link below for more details, including some information about the MP features, which is awesome because being clueless about what the hell is going on always annoys me about betas. So… who’s with me???

Source: Naughty Dog

Mitch Reminisces About Star Wars Galaxies

star wars galaxies shut down

One of the most important games of my youth was Star Wars Galaxies (when I say youth, I mean late teens, but stay with me), an MMO set in that galaxy far, far away. Produced by LucasArts and helmed by Sony Online Entertainment, the game originally started as a huge, unwieldy MMO where players could choose to become one of thirty-three (!) professions, combining the features of lower-tier classes to reach hybrid professions like Bounty Hunter or Bio-Engineer.

Besides having a class progression system from hell that was completely skewed (if you didn’t play as a close-combat character you were doing it wrong), Galaxies was unique in that it allowed players to set up their own towns on one of the game’s many planets, establishing new cities away from ones that might be recognizable to Star Wars fans like Coronet or Mos Eisley. This was one of the cooler aspects of the game to me, one that allowed me and my friends and guild-mates to set up huge player-run cities complete with a guildhall and all other sorts of interesting buildings, like faction specific bunkers.

When it originally launched, Galaxies was notorious for being fairly buggy and even several years into the game’s lifespan, this continued to be the case. My friend (GamerSushi user The Nage) and I glitched our way through several of the game’s dungeons, running a two-man team on instances that were supposed to take upwards of ten people to complete. We completed the Corellian Corvette missions by activating specific consoles while we were dead, or running across electrified floors before the game realized what we were doing.

Continue reading Mitch Reminisces About Star Wars Galaxies

StarCraft 2: Sometimes You Keep Losing

Starcraft 2

After avoiding the game for some time, I finally picked up StarCraft 2 last week. Part of the reason I did my best to thwart the temptation of this popular RTS is because I know what these kinds of games do to me. They take away my life and they make me an angry person.

You see, part of the problem is that whatever genes are required to be good at micro-managing units, I just don’t have them. This makes me generally terrible at any and all RTS games. On top of that, I do happen to have the genes that make one an obsessive compulsive stat monger. So, naturally, these two things are at odds with another, and I inevitably tumble down a voracious toilet bowl flush of addiction. I suck, I obsess about build orders, I still suck – and so on.

Anyway, I’ve spent most of last night playing (and losing) to pretty much the entirety of BattleNet. So here are my questions for you lovely people. For you StarCraft 2 players, do you have any advice for a guy trying to get his Terran on? And to everyone else, what do you do when you continually lose at a game you play competitively? How do you handle it? Go!

Saint’s Row: The Third Trailer Shows You the Business

If you tuned into the awesome season-ender E3 2011 wrap up podcast, you heard us wax philosophic about Saint’s Row: The Third and the changes it’s making coming into its latest iteration. Besides the improved graphical look and the unique visual style, the craziness has been jacked up another notch, which might seem impossible to players of the second game. The team at Volition are giving it their all though. The walkthrough for Saint’s Row: The Third that I’ve embedded below shows the gameplay that was touted at E3.

We’re going to try not to go too crazy with the trailers in the post-E3 news slump, but it’s nice being able to watch these things without the background noise that a convention tends to bring. What’s your opinion on the gameplay of Saint’s Row: The Third? Does it look like it’s up your ally? Is this one of your must haves for this Fall? Go!

Valve Treats Us With Meet the Medic and Free Team Fortress 2

Valve certainly is doing everything they can to make up for a lack of Half-Life 3, now aren’t they? After dropping Portal 2 on us earlier this year, they’ve turned their attention towards their other critically-acclaimed darling: Team Fortress 2. With this week’s Uber Update promising tons of content and a new Meet the Team video to boot, Valve also announced today that Team Fortress 2 will be free forever. Now isn’t that quite the how-do-you-do? As you might except, Meet the Medic is filled with blood and guts, albeit in that Team Fortress style, so use discretion if necessary.

Not my favorite Meet the Team video so far, but the Sniper and Spy trailers would be hard to top. So there it is, more loving from Valve to all of us. Apparently there’s some discontent out there concerning Team Fortress 2’s new price tag, but this game has been around since 2007; chances are, you’ve gotten your money’s worth by now. What do you guys think of the new trailer and Team Fortress 2’s low, low price?

L.A. Noire Heading to PCs Everywhere this Fall

bro game reviews la noire

Friends, PC gamers, countrymen, lend me your ears: Team Bondi’s critically acclaimed 1940’s crime solving game L.A. Noire is hitting the PC this fall. In a recent post on the Rockstar Newswire, the company confirmed that they have heard the cries of their PC faithful, who have rightly felt a little left out after not seeing a version of Red Dead Redemption on their platform of choice last year.

While no exact release date was confirmed in the post itself, I’m going to go ahead and guess it will come out in November, along with about ninety percent of the other games this fall. The game will feature support for the mouse and keyboard setup along with the option to use a controller, and it will be able to run 3D if your rig is set up that way.

So there you have it, PC gamers, Rockstar does care about you after all. L.A. Noire was a favorite around the GamerSushi offices (or it would be if such a place existed), so I’m glad that everyone who missed out on playing it over the summer will get a chance to do so later this year. Hopefully you didn’t listen to our spoiler cast too intently, although due to some people (*cough* Jeff and Anthony *cough*) not finishing the Homicide desk, it was pretty light on the reveals.

Now that you know that L.A. Noire is coming to the PC, what say you? Are you going to be picking it up? How do you think the game’s mechanics will blend in with the PC control scheme? Does this give you hope for future Rockstar games?

Source – Rockstar Newswire

My Idea for a Game of Thrones Video Game

Game of Thrones

HBO and George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones, has just completed its first season. Have to say, I loved every moment of it and it left me wanting more, which is amazing since I knew every twist and turn that was coming, having read the books multiple times over the past 10 years, starting way back in college in 2001. Seeing the show has made me ache for a really high quality game set in that world.

And we’re getting one, but it’s an RTS. Now, nothing against those, I like them. But enviously reading the reviews for The Witcher 2, which is based on a Polish fantasy series, got me to thinking about what genre would be ideal for making a game set in the world of Westeros. And it came to me, the answer being right there in front of me: an open-world RPG like Oblivion or Fallout 3.

Just picture it: you get to roam the entire land of Westeros, visiting Winterfell, doing quests for Ned Stark, such as hunting down wildlings or delivering supplies to the Wall. There, you take quests from Lord Commander Mormont, maybe even go beyond the Wall or track deserters. You can travel to King’s Landing, participate in tournaments, including jousting, join the many different factions and undertake countless quests from all the characters you know, love and hate.

What’s more, the plot of the books could occur over time, so events will change circumstances, allowing you to fight in massive battles and maybe even change history if they wanted to pursue that avenue. Regardless, your character could have his or her own story while the story of the books takes place around you as time passes. The point is, this would be an awesome way to play in this world. In fact, I think this genre would be the best for many licensed games of this kind. Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings…this genre works best with sci-fi fantasy worlds that are already established. It wouldn’t be ideal with something like Batman.

What say you? Did I just design a game that sounds awesome or lame? Winter is coming and hopefully, so are the comments, so let me hear you roar!

Gears of War 3 Horde 2.0 Walkthrough Drops the Facts

One of the great surprises of E3 2011 was the reveal of Horde 2.0 in Gears of War 3. With all the improvements made to the multiplayer, it shouldn’t have caught us off guard that Epic would be turning their loving eyes to Horde mode as well, but this really came out of left field. Taking away from player data from Gears of War 2, Horde 2.0 features a whole host of usability improvements seen in the multiplayer of Gears 3 (like enemy tagging and the tactical overlay) and adds the ability to use an area as a base and fortify it with static defenses, turrets and the fearsome Silverback mech suit. There’s a new Horde 2.0 walkthrough narrated by Nan McNamara, the voice actor for Anya Stroud, and I’ve embedded it below.

Much like Halo: Reach last year, Gears of War 3 might dominate our lives when it hits on September 20. I have my copy pre-ordered and paid for, and I can’t wait to tuck into this triple threat title. We may have to have a GamerSushi Game Night for this when it comes out (non-Xbox readers, don’t worry, we might have something in the works…). What do you guys think of the new improvements to Horde?

What Are You Playing: It’s Too Damn Hot Outside Edition


Salutations, faithful readers, it is I, your humble Canadian, back for another round of What Are You Playing. If you’re new to this recurring post, the basic set-up is pretty simple: I ask you what video games you’re playing, and you answer. It doesn’t have to exactly be video games per se; if you want to launch into a (spoiler-free as I haven’t seen the show yet, and people may not have read the books) discussion about the season finale of Game of Thrones, feel free to do so. It’s an open forum, but we’d love to get your thoughts on some current games, and maybe some oldies too.

For me, I spent the morning playing Nicholson Electroplating, the new Arson case for L.A. Noire. I bought the Rockstar Pass when it was on sale a while back, so I got all the DLC for the game for a reasonable price. Nicholson Electroplating is a very action-intensive case and the investigative aspects are relatively slim, but it’s a solid addition overall. It also got me that much closer to rounding out the achievements for L.A. Noire, so that’s always good. Besides that I’ve been finishing off my Evil karma run-through of inFAMOUS 2 and getting back into Halo: Reach in preparation for this year’s Bungie Day. A friend of mine also picked up The Witcher 2 on Steam, so I’m going to log into his account and play it when I have a moment. I’m also trying to desperately bring myself up to a respectable level on StarCraft 2 so I don’t embarrass myself. It’s hard though, but I’m working on my three barracks build.

That’s probably enough out of me, so what about you guys? Has anyone tried Nicholson Electroplating, and what did you think? Opinions of the L.A. Noire DLC overall would be good too. Anything else that you’re playing? Let us know!

The Half-Life 2 Files, Part 2: The Road to Ravenholm

HL2 DogNote: This series is a correspondence between fellow writer Anthony Taylor and myself about one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, Half-Life 2. In the first HL2 file, we talked about our history with Half-Life and the opening of Half-Life 2.

This week, we cover the levels Root Kanal through Ravenholm. Continue reading The Half-Life 2 Files, Part 2: The Road to Ravenholm

Disturbing Trends in the State of Gaming


One of the more useful things about E3 is that it allows us to take stock of where the industry currently is – and more importantly, where the powers-that-be think it needs to be heading. Each year, we can come away with a few lessons about the kinds of trends we’ll be seeing for the immediate future. For instance, since the unveiling of the Nintendo Wii a few years back, we knew that motion gaming had arrived in a major way.

While there are always going to be fanboys and naysayers on every side of the table, Cracked took some time to put together a list of The 6 Most Ominous Trends in Video Games, in which they outline all the dire portends that loom on the horizon. While the list is meant to be hilarious (and it is), it does have a few things that I find worrisome as well. Most notably would be the idea that technology is moving backward (touch gaming, the Wii-U, etc.), and that the video games industry seems to be moving towards a place of creative bankruptcy (countless sequels and re-hashed ideas).

So, what do you guys think of this list? Do you think the things it lists are fair towards the game industry? What are some of the more ominous trends that you’ve observed? Or is all of this just hogwash? Go!

Source – Cracked

Prioritizing the Remaining Video Games of 2011

batman arkham city

I won’t lie to you, GamerSushians, I’m a little worried about the rest of the year. I’ve been managing to squeeze in every big title so far this year, but I think I’m going to lose track of everything come September. Gears of War 3 is already pre-ordered, as is Battlefield 3. Beyond that, though, things get a little out of control.

With three games that I want to get coming in one day, and a couple more must haves before that, I’m going to have to start making cuts. First on the chopping block is Batman: Arkham City. I really enjoyed the first game, but I don’t think that the second is going to draw me in; I’m just doubtful that Arkham City will give me a different experience than I had with Arkham Asylum. Don’t worry, I’m also passing on Modern Warfare 3 so you can’t give me flack for that.

What about you guys? Which titles are you passing up this year, if any? Why are you giving them up for different games?

Would You Rather: Summer 2011 Edition

Oh summer, you have unleashed the full fury of your fireballs upon us. Or at least, that’s the case in Texas. The constant 100+ temperatures are a reminder that yes, we are now fully in the grips of summer’s suffocating heat, which usually means a healthy summer drought of gaming. Or does it?

As such, we thought it was time to drop in with a brand new edition of Would You Rather. This time around, we ask you all kinds of summery questions, just to see how you take the heat. There are a couple of good Sophie’s Choices in there, so try not to hate us too much for the decision-torture.

For the Would You Rather newbies out there, the game is easy: we ask and you dish out your response. Give as much or as little explanation as you want for your choices, but we all know that we like to see the reasoning behind the madness.

Don’t let your answers suck, though. There is a special bat that Anthony lugs around in his trunk for people that don’t give good responses. Let’s just say that it is dented and has seen a fair share of action. So yeah, he will hurt you if you don’t answer well. Go!

Continue reading Would You Rather: Summer 2011 Edition

Ezio Started the Fire in This Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Trailer

As GamerSushi’s one-man Assassin’s Creed Defense Force, it’s my job to pump up the jam about UbiSoft’s latest historical adventure game. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is the third game starring everyone’s favorite Florentian noble man Ezio Auditore and is set to conclude his story in a grand fashion. UbiSoft originally showed off this bit of gameplay during their E3 press conference, but they’ve just release it with developer commentary, albeit sadly lacking any Mr. Caffeine. So, without any further ado: doodly-doodly-doop!

This is Assassin’s Creed with executive producer Michael Bay, it would seem. It’s still looking great, though, and it’s nice to know that Ezio is still as spry as he ever was. What do you guys think about the new trailer? Will this finally put an end to Ezio’s story? Are you as excited as I am that we can finally assassinate people from Eagle Vision?

The Curse of Annoying Online Teammates

Black Ops

We’ve posted a lot in the past about online multiplayer. Everything from awesome moments of pwnage to griefers to foul-mouth bigots and the racists who love them. But as I was playing Call of Duty: Black Ops on Sunday with my brother, something new occurred to me to ask the wise veterans of the GamerSushi community (that’s you guys and gals).

Team Deathmatch can only take you so far. Sometimes, the urge to work together, to be a part of something greater than yourself rises from somewhere deep inside you and you find yourself playing objective games…with strangers…online. You can probably see where this is going already, but I saw some of the dumbest things of all time on Sunday.

During a game of Domination, people running past enemy flags, instead of stopping and capturing them. Not an enemy in sight and they can’t be bothered because apparently they still think they are playing team deathmatch. Then, during Search and Destroy, you get people who defuse or plant the bomb while standing up, in plain sight. No crouching or going prone, or hiding behind the box to maybe buy yourself a few more seconds of precious time. Just morons.

And the icing on the cake for me was when you die and you can watch your teammates play while you wait for the round to end. You get people camping and sitting still when time is running out, practically forfeiting the round. Also, I guess some people had ADHD, because if there is even one moment where they can’t shoot someone, they switch weapons, just to have something to do. Switch back and forth and back and forth and oh look, an enemy just shot you in the face while you were playing with yourself.

Whew. Sorry. I had to get all that out. So those are my complaints. What are some of your biggest annoyances from teammates while playing online? This is a safe zone: no one will hurt you here. GO!

Review: inFAMOUS 2

infamous 2 review

The original inFAMOUS was a nice surprise back in 2009, a new IP in a market crowded with sequels and reboots. The game cast you as Cole MacGrath, a young bike courier who gains electrical superpowers after being caught in the middle of a large explosion that leaves him as the only survivor. inFAMOUS combined open-world aspects with a touch of RPG progression, awesome super-powers and threw it all together with a fun method of travel and a moral compass that you influenced through your actions.

As enjoyable as the game was it did have a few flaws, most notably its very binary karma system, but it was a refreshing, fun game that we don’t get a lot of these days. Hopping around Empire City blasting lightning at bad guys and helping or hindering the common folk (depending on your alignment) was so engaging that I had no trouble playing through twice to see the good and bad outcomes of the game. Two years later, Sucker Punch Productions is bringing Cole back, sending him down south to New Marais in order to gain new super powers in order to fight The Beast, an apocalyptical enemy mentioned at the end of the first game. Does inFAMOUS 2 pull of an “Uncharted 2” leap in quality, or does the game fizzle out?
Continue reading Review: inFAMOUS 2