Gaming Pop Quiz: Summer 2011 Edition

Listen, guys. I’ve got some news. We’re already halfway through 2011. No, we didn’t all hop in a time machine together and jump to July. That’s just the way these things go sometimes. One minute, you’re waiting for Portal 2 to come out, the next you’re wondering why Portal 3 wasn’t announced at E3 the month before. Seriously, time likes to do that kind of thing.

Since we’re closing in on the fall that gaming will never forget, we thought it would be good to drop in and hit you guys up with another pop quiz. People are supposed to loathe these things, but you guys seem to shred them to pieces like little vicious animals. And we love you for it. Hopefully, you’ll love us for these new questions. The “soapbox” question was such a big hit last time we decided to keep it for this go around as well. You’re welcome.

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. Go! Continue reading Gaming Pop Quiz: Summer 2011 Edition

Wanted: Original Heroes

Cole Infamous 2

I don’t mean to be a grumpy old man about the state of games these days – as you know, I love them fiercely. Think of it as a mama bear and her cubs. And yes, I’m the mama bear. Anyway, while I try to stay positive and don’t want to pounce on the things that bug me all the time, I will say that in addition to poor writing in modern games, another problem that I’ve seen is a new tendency towards weak protagonists.

In my mind, these two problems easily fit together hand-in-hand. I feel like writing in games suffers precisely because of weak protagonists, who are designed to be bland so as not to affect the plot itself or even your memory of it. While story isn’t everything in games, there’s something to be said for an experience that works alongside the gameplay.

To underscore this unsettling trend, IGN posted a feature a couple of weeks back that highlights the Devolution of Character Design. It’s really disturbing to see, especially as they photoshop several heroes together without any hitches. I knew that heroes were growing more unoriginal, but not to such a staggering degree.

So what do you guys think? Do we need more original heroes? Who’s your favorite protagonist in recent video games? Who is your least favorite? Go!

Source – IGN

Somebody Please Explain Frozen Synapse to Me

frozen synapse

On a whim yesterday, a friend and I purchased Frozen Synapse on Steam to ward off the gaming drought we currently find ourselves in. The game was 50% off and it even comes with a second free copy, so it seemed like a steal.

I had seen a couple video on the YouTubes explaining the basic concept of the game, but when I tried out the game proper, I was a little taken aback. For the uninformed, Frozen Synapse is a turn-based tactical game, sort of in the vein of the planning phase from the old Rainbow Six games. You tell your troops what to do, down to the direction they face and where they’ll run, and hope that your choices lead to victory.

While I do get the basic mechanics of the game, I’m a little unclear on the multiplayer aspects. Since the game came with a second free copy, I had thought that there would be an AI vs mode, or maybe a co-op campaign. Unfortunately, the game has neither of those, but at 50% off it was hard to pass up.

Since Frozen Synapse is sitting on my hard drive, I’m turning to you guys for advice. How do I get my money’s worth from Frozen Synapse? What modes would you recommend for anyone who’s been interested in this game? What are your thoughts on it? The game has been getting pretty good reviews, so I’d like to give it an honest try.

What’s in a Game: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords

knights of the old republic 2 the sith lordsOne of the greatest games of all time (or at least the past couple of generations) was Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare’s fantastic Star Wars RPG/love letter to the franchise. They carefully crafted an interpretation of the Star Wars universe but set the clock back about 3,500 years, long before Anakin Skywalker was immaculately conceived by the midi-chlorians.

Set after the terrible Mandalorian War and right in the middle of the Jedi Civil War (it’s Star Wars for a reason, folks), the game followed an amnesiac Republic solider as he fought against the Sith and discovered his dark heritage. The game’s twist ending knocked everyone’s sock’s off, including mine, but the sequel, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, drew me in way more than the first game.

Starting with the coldest of opens, Knights 2 dropped you on an asteroid mining station where you plot your escape with the help of Kreia and Atton Rand, the former of which helps you reestablish your connection to the Force, having lost it during the Mandalorian War. This is a similar sort of opening to Knights of the Old Republic, but the game went a different direction from there. While not a bad game by any means, KotOR 2 wasn’t exactly lauded by critics and tarnished the first game’s sterling reputation, if you’re prone to hyperbole. Why do I love it so much, though?

Continue reading What’s in a Game: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords

GamerSushi Asks: How Are You Celebrating the 4th?

independence dayI know that not everyone here is a good and proper American (Murican), so I know this post isn’t entirely applicable, but I still thought I’d put it out there anyway. After all, our Canadian friends just had Canada Day this weekend, and our friends across the pond probably celebrate distancing themselves from the U.S. 235 years ago.

As of now, my only plans today are to eat a lot of ribs. Seriously, I’m going to two separate parties in which the purpose is to eat ribs. Besides that, I plan on playing a bit of Half-Life 2, Starcraft 2 and watching some Modern Family, which I’ve just recently gotten into. Good times.

So, yeah. On this great day of fireworks (unless you’re in Texas, that is, where the drought is stopping all that), hot dogs and general lazing around, what are you guys doing? What are you playing? How do you normally celebrate on holidays like this? Go!

When Devs Step Back: LittleBigPlanet


Panic struck the hearts of LittleBigPlanet fans around the net this weekend, as there have been reports that Siobhan Reddy, studio director of Media Molecule, said that the group was “stepping away” from the franchise for a time to focus on new ideas. Naturally, game sites reported this news (which originated from a single tweet) as gospel, but since then there have been updates from Media Molecule which clarify that they are not leaving LBP forever, merely putting it in the backseat temporarily while they break ground on new developments.

All of this is most certainly welcome news (I’ll be happy with anything that MM puts out in the future), it did spring a new question to life that I thought I’d ask you guys. It’s well known these days that game devs’ hands are tied to their popular franchises, which is why we see sequel after nonstop sequel each year. It almost makes me wish that more studios had the freedom to step away like this. I would love to see what Naughty Dog could do besides Uncharted, and I certainly can’t wait to see what Bungie does with its new-found life after Halo.

So now I ask you gents: which devs would you like to see step away from their current hit franchises? What kind of games would you like to see them create? Go!

Source – LittleBigLand

Twelve Minutes of Arkham City Gameplay Goodness

Since it’s Canada Day up here in the Great White North, I’ll make this short and sweet. Developers Rocksteady have dropped twelve minutes of Batman: Arkham City gameplay on us, and I’ve embedded it below for your viewing pleasure. You’ll see Batman beating fools up, jumping on fools and tracking fools from the shadows. There’s also a snippet of Catwoman gameplay, so enjoy that as well.

What did you guys think? Is this looking like a worthy follow up to Arkham Asylum? Hit me up with those comments!