Today’s WTF: Call of Mountain Dewty Double XP

CoDSome of you may have heard about the new Mountain Dew Call of Duty promotion giving away in-game Double XP time for buying their products. Stuffing your face with bags of Doritos and washing it down with a can of the green can give you up to 90-plus minuets of in-game double XP. Codes on the products can be entered to give you a rank-up edge in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.

Now I don’t know how many of you feel about companies giving in-game goodies for pre-orders or buying the more expensive edition of a game, but this one really takes the cake. Check out the official rules at the link from the top to view the official rules and a table of the time-to-drink ratio.

While 15 minutes of double experience for drinking a 20 oz bottle of Mountain Dew isn’t going to skyrocket you to 15th Prestige, the concept of this promotion is still a giant facepalm to me. With companies like Best Buy and GameStop already doing absurd promotions this new concept seems to be pushing that idea too far. What do you guys think? Is Mountain Dew hitting on a goldmine? Or is this a joke of a promotion? Give me your thoughts!

Source – PC Gamer

Battlefield 3 Beta Impressions

battlefield 3 beta impressions

While the Battlefield 3 Beta does go public today, I’ve been playing it since the 27 thanks to my pre-order early access (and the fact that I bought the Limited Edition of Medal of Honor). I haven’t been hiding my anticipation for Battlefield 3 at all and I’ve been eagerly awaiting a chance to try the game out before release. Since I’ve already pre-ordered it, I’m kind of locked into the full retail version, but I wanted to give those of you still on the fence a little taste to help you decide whether or not to jump on this train.

The only map currently available in the Beta is Operation Metro in its Rush variant. Operation Metro is a very linear map that progresses from a park to a subway tunnel and then out onto a wide promenade. The other map, Caspian Border, is currently locked behind a password, but that’s the more traditional BF map with wide open areas and combined arms warfare. Metro is strictly an infantry combat map in this form, and it doesn’t exactly carry that Battlefield feel that people might be expecting. Continue reading Battlefield 3 Beta Impressions

GamerSushi Asks: Do We Need Better Graphics?

Epic Samaritan

At first glance, the easiest way to note the changes in gaming from the 80s to now would be in the quality of the visuals. We’ve moved from the jagged mazes of Pac-Man to the jaw-dropping realism of Battlefield 3. And while I’m not one to call myself a graphics dude, this certainly makes me happy in a variety of ways. I remember playing games on the PS1, seeing the cut scenes, and thinking that some day games will look like this. The crazy thing is, we blew that point out of the water as early as last generation in some cases.

But have we hit our graphical peak? And where else can gaming go? CEO of Epic Games Tim Sweeney has some ideas about that:

I really see two major milestones coming up for games in the very long-term future. Number one is achieving movie quality graphics and movie quality pixels on the screen, which mean no flicker in the visuals, no popping artifacts, no bulky character outlines on the screen at all. I see that actually occurring over the next ten years. I expect I’ll be actively programming at the time we’ve achieved full movie-quality graphics because that’s really just a matter of brute force computing power and clever algorithm. We know exactly how to do that.

He goes on to talk about the second major milestone being the human aspects of the game such as AI and other simulations. Perhaps I’m nitpicking a bit here, but it seems interesting that game makers are still so devoted to graphics. Granted, this is Epic we’re talking about, makers of one of the most gorgeous engines in gaming, but it still gives me pause. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Do We Need Better Graphics?

Review: Gears of War 3

gears of war 3 review

If you want to know my opinion (and you’re reading a review that I wrote, so I’m going to assume that you do), Microsoft has had a very keen eye for franchises that will go on to become very influential in their generation. Halo informed the whole of the last generation and Gears of War did a fair bit to shape the direction of gaming in this one. While we did become a little sick of the “brown and grey” color schemes that dominated the first Gears, you can’t really deny that Epic has created something unique with their stop-and-pop shooter.

Indeed, it’s rare that a Gears game didn’t have a design element that was aped by the games that followed. If Gears one brought cover systems and a certain visual style to the masses then Gears 2 brought Horde mode which has been copied, to various degrees of success, by other notable franchises like Halo, Call of Duty and many more.

Now, after a wild five-year ride, we come to the end of this current trilogy of Gears of War games. If you’ve followed the story of the games all the way through, you know that humanity is out of the frying pan and in the fire, living as disparate bands, trying to survive as a new life form called “Lambent” overruns both them and their old subterranean foes, the Locust. Indeed, the first chapter of the game details the new living situation as Marcus and Dom are living aboard a dilapidated aircraft carrier and Cole and Baird are scrounging the mainland for food and supplies. With such a depressing beginning, does Gears of War 3 provide a nice, satisfying end to all the chainsawing insanity? Continue reading Review: Gears of War 3

Sony’s Mysterious Trailer Will Leave You Guessing

Kevin Butler, freshly crowned king of the Long Live Play marketing campaign tweeted a link to a video that could only be described as “mysterious”. Also, “puzzling, intriguing and WTF” spring to mind, but as Levar Burton on Reading Rainbow used to say, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

Just in case you want to though, the trailer shows references to all sorts of Sony franchises, such as Sweet Tooth’s truck from Twisted Metal, the Metal Gear MK II and even Ratchet and Clank. Something is brewing and I wanna know what it is!

See for yourself:

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

What do you think this could be? I will have my eyes glued to the Internet on October 5th, that’s for certain, but if this is about Playstation Home, I’m going to be pissed. What say you?

Source: Twitter

Chart Your Gaming Progression

gaming evolution

I stumbled upon something neat the other day while browsing the Internet, and I thought it would make an interesting topic here on GamerSushi. We often talk about what our current favorite is, or which game got us into gaming, but it’s very rare that we step back and examine our gaming evolution from day one.

The basic format we’re going to be following is outlined in this picture, but if you don’t want to date yourself by giving your age, that’s OK. I’ll go first just to give everyone another example to go off of. Just because there’s kind of a big gap between the adolescent game and the current favorite game, I’m also going to add in an early adulthood game in order to make the time difference a little less severe.

Date of Birth: 1987
First Game: Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt
Childhood Defining Game: Super Mario World
Adolescent Defining Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Early Adulthood Defining Game: Gears of War
Current Favorite Game: Red Dead Redemption

So there we go, my gaming evolution charted from birth until now. So, how does this look for you guys? What was your first game ever? Your current favorite? Go!

BioWare Announces Launch Date and Pricing for The Old Republic

the old republic release date

The day that we’ve all been waiting for has finally come to pass: after much hemming and hawing and three pre-rendered trailers, BioWare has seen fit to announce the release date for their highly anticipated Star Wars MMO. The Old Republic (TOR) will be brought into being on December 20, 2011 in North America and the 22 in Europe. People who have pre-ordered the game will also be given early access, but there’s no specific time-table for that yet.

In addition to the launch day, BioWare also dropped The Old Republic’s pricing structure. Every copy of the game will come with a 30 day subscription built in, but anything past that will be subjected to the typical MMO monthly fee. The breakdown goes thusly:

  • 1 Month Subcription: $14.99 (£8.99/€12.99)
  • 3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
  • 6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94)

So there it is, folks, laid bare for all to see. I’m kind of surprised that TOR is going with a traditional pricing scheme when every other MMO (even World of Warcraft to an extent) is going free to play. Indeed, there’s one MMO I’m looking forward to possibly more that TOR and that’s Firefall which is going to be supported by microtransactions.

I’ll still give TOR a shot anyways, just because I’ve been waiting so long for it, but the subscription might be a deal breaker in the long run. What do you guys think about this news? Excited for TOR? What are your thoughts on the pricing structure?

Source – The Old Republic

2011: The Year of Strong Female Characters

gears of war cartoon

Typically in gaming, female characters are either total write-offs or just re-writes of male characters but with ridiculous armor that barely covers anything except their privates. I’d all but given up on seeing believable female characters in video games, but this year actually marks the first where I was more impressed by the fairer sex in a game then I was by their masculine counterparts (no homo).

The year started off with Dead Space 2 and its introduction of Ellie Langford, a pilot for the Concordance Extraction Corporation and a survivor of the Necromorph outbreak on Titan Station. While Isaac Clarke was fighting to regain his sanity, Ellie battled the zombified remains of her co-workers (and implied boyfriend) and helped Isaac destroy the Marker and escape the station, all while losing an eye. Ellie didn’t need your help, didn’t need to be saved (again, the eye thing was a minor set-back) and she contributed way more to the story than just jump prancing around in a skimpy outfit. The same goes for Second Lieutenant Mira in this year’s destined to be over-looked Space Marine: she held the Imperial Guard together after the deaths of her superiors and kept them fighting even after the Ultramarines came in to steal the thunder. Continue reading 2011: The Year of Strong Female Characters

Ni No Kuni Gameplay Video Paints a Pretty Picture

Ni No Kuni, the Level-5 RPG that’s being co-created with Studio Ghibli (the wonderful people behind classics like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away), is due for release in Japan later this year and in America early next year. While I’ve only seen a trailer and some art for the game, I was happy to learn that Level-5 brought it to TGS. And as expected, it’s gorgeous.

I know that sometimes we gamers throw around terms like “stunning” and “gorgeous” until they lose all meaning, but I really am impressed by the art and the style of Ni No Kuni. It looks to be one of the PS3’s best-looking games, and that’s certainly saying alot.

Looks like I’ll have one more game to add to the list for 2012. What are your thoughts?

EDIT: You might have to watch two ads to get it to play, but it works. Check it!

Source – GamingEverything

GamerSushi Asks: The Nature of Multiplayer?

A couple of decades ago, if you had asked me what the term “multiplayer” meant, I probably wouldn’t have had an answer. The most “multi” I could get for my gaming dollar was adding my brother into a game of Streets of Rage or the Captain America and the Avengers game for Sega Genesis. In a time where gaming knew a lot of limits, the shared experienced capped out at two players max.

Things were different at the arcade, of course. There, two to four players could race against one another, or four mutants could tackle the coin-op challenges of the classic X-Men arcade cabinet. That was an experience that was fancy, almost futuristic in appearance compared to the tethered wired controllers that got thrown around in frustration over hat tricks in NHL 94. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: The Nature of Multiplayer?

On Videogame Cut Scenes and Filmmaking

Mass Effect 2

Over the years, the advancements in video game technology and the bigger budgets associated with AAA games have helped the games industry compete with movies in terms of their appeal and their business. The experiences are bigger, bolder and more akin to Hollywood blockbusters than ever. We expect more out of games these days – and a lot of that mindset is owed to the cut scenes that were introduced several generations ago. Cut scenes stretched our idea of what games could be. But do games still do cut scenes right?

That’s the question Wired asks in a new piece titled 5 Film-School Violations in Videogame Cut Scenes. In it, writer Jason Schreier takes a look at some of the things that modern cut scenes still get wrong, even after all these years. While I think the list is sort of ill aimed (it’s more about writing and editing than actual direction), Schreier raises some great issues. In terms of writing, many games just can’t seem to cut it compared to the movies they’re trying so desperately to be.

While I’d have to disagree with him on Mass Effect 2 (one of my friends was a cinematic designer on that game and knows his crap), I’ve long maintained that many game cut scenes don’t really know what they’re doing in terms of the actual craft of film – shots are set up all wrong, and are more about flash and spectacle than about the story itself. To me, one of the most grievous recent examples is Final Fantasy XIII. For all the flack that the game takes, I felt like very little of it was directed at its cut scenes, which were often a jumbled mess. During action sequences, I often found it hard to follow what exactly was going on in the scene, to the point where I had to re-watch them several times.

So how do you guys feel about this list? How do you feel about cut scenes in gaming? Which games do it right and which ones do it wrong?

Source – Wired

Battlefield 3 Beta and System Specs

BF3 Multiplayer

Gears of War 3 launches today, which means it’s finally upon us. The Gaming Season That Must Not Be Named. I bid all of you my best wishes as you meet the challenges of the next few months headlong. As for me, I’m already looking forward into October. At the risk of sounding like the world’s biggest Battlefield 3 fan site, I thought I’d post a couple of updates I saw floating around the Web this morning.

First: a multiplayer beta for the game starts next week across XBox 360, PS3 and PC. Looks like it’s going to cover the Operation Metro map.

Second: DICE released the minimum and recommended PC specs in order to play their graphically stunning behemoth. Check those out after the jump! Continue reading Battlefield 3 Beta and System Specs

Raging Past Cheap Bosses

Sephiroth Kingdom Hearts 2

One game that’s recently received a lot of flack about poorly designed boss battles is Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While I commend the dudes at Eidos for trying to give the game that old school flavor, I think most people would prefer to have no boss fights at all over lame bosses.

As bad as a repetitive or boring enemy is, he is at his most heinous when he is cheap, or virtually unbeatable. I think we’ve all seen our fair share of these. In case you haven’t, or you need your memory refreshed, Dorkly has put together a list of the 7 cheapest boss fights in all of gaming.

I can’t say I’ve actually dealt with all of these antagonists first hand, but I know that Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts was one ridiculous mofo, dishing out death with a flash of his blade and that iconic silver hair. Also, I remember Death Egg being a total bastard in Sonic 2.

Were any of these familiar to you guys? Were there any cheap bosses that you think should have been on the list? What are some of the best boss encounters you can remember in recent years?

Source – Dorkly

Review: Resistance 3

resistance 3 review

The Resistance series has always flown under the radar for me; I had heard about the quality of the games from a few different sources, but I never could get into Insomniac’s alternate time-line sci-fi shooter. The first two games went by me without so much as a raised eyebrow, but with the third game pulling in such great reviews, I decided that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to check it out.

As a newcomer to the Resistance series, did the third game strike a chord with me, or was my earlier impression of the series justified?
Continue reading Review: Resistance 3

Super Mario Remix Will Drop Your Jaw

In what is looking like hyperbole week here at GamerSushi (See Mitch’s post about the canceled Avengers game), I am taking a similar stance with this video of Mario tunes all mashed together with some of the most nostalgia inducing visuals you will ever see: this video is a work of pure genius and the creator should be carried on the shoulders of geeks for all time.

If you don’t believe me, just watch. And do me a favor: leave a note in the comments exactly how far into the video it took your jaw to drop or the goosebumps to form on your pale, nerdy flesh.

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

Am I right? Doesn’t this just make you want to play all the Mario games back to back? Nintendo should hire this guy and find him a position just doing tributes for their various franchises.

What say you?

Canceled Avengers Game Could Have Been the Greatest Superhero Title Ever (Updated)

It really puzzles me as to what game companies think is acceptable for product tie-in games. For every Batman: Arkham Asylum and Spider-Man 2 we get, there’s such turd piles as Thor, Iron Man 1 and 2 and that Hulk game where you could sneak around as Bruce Banner. With so many bad superhero games flooding the market, you’d think that Marvel would gravitate towards a product that does Earth’s Mightiest Heroes justice, but apparently this promising-looking Avengers game was canned. Watch for yourself and bemoan its loss with me. Also, this might spoil the main enemy of the Avengers movie (maybe), so you know, don’t watch if you’re worried about that. Looks like the original video has been pulled, so I’ll try to add new ones as they come.

I never thought that controlling the Hulk or Iron Man from a first-person perspective would work, but this looks totally awesome. Imagine this game in co-op? One of your friends leaps into the fray as the Hulk while you fly around and blast fools with repulsor beams? I guess some things are too good to be true.

Nintendo Versus Smartphone Gaming

Iwata 3DS

Nintendo’s been in a bit of a pickle lately. If it’s not the drastically falling sales of the Wii, it’s the unfortunately handled launch of the Nintendo 3DS. In addition to cutting the launch price by almost half, Nintendo has also been forced to announce a peripheral that appears to complete the hardware functionality of the handheld. As can be expected, their investors haven’t taken too kindly to this, and stocks are falling.

There could be any number of reasons cited for the 3DS woes. One might easily point to the system’s price and the marginal upgrade of the DS hardware, the lackluster lineup of launch games or an interest in 3D gaming. However, as we’ve talked about before, some are citing the competition from smartphone gaming as one of the direct causes. While I don’t think that tells the entire story, it does raise a good point: people expect more from handhelds these days and Nintendo could stand to change their formula on either the hardware or software side.

But what does Nintendo think about the idea of developing for smartphones? Here’s what president Iwata says:

This is absolutely not under consideration. If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo. Having a hardware development team in-house is a major strength. It’s the duty of management to make use of those strengths. It’s probably the correct decision in the sense that the moment we started to release games on smartphones we’d make profits. However, I believe my responsibility is not to short term profits, but to Nintendo’s mid and long term competitive strength.

While I agree that this would be a fundamental change for Nintendo, it seems like Iwata might be a bit too resistant to change. It’s odd that after the company touted the Wii as a change in the way we play games, they’re so hesitant to embrace the idea of smartphone applications. Wouldn’t a Pokemon or Zelda app perform really well?

What do you guys think about their stance? Would it ruin them or would it serve them? Go!

Source – IndustryGamers

GamerSushi Asks: Gears of War 3 Roll Call?

Gears of War 3

Oh my, September. What’s happened to you? It seems like just yesterday you were so far away, and now we’re already halfway through your thirty day lifespan. But I guess that means you’ve got a few treats for us.

If you (not September, but you kind GamerSushi folk… I know, it’s confusing) have been keeping up with the video game calendar at all, then you know that Gears of War 3 is out next Tuesday, in all of its neck-hiding, locust-killing and cover-taking brown beauty. Reviews of the game are dropping left and right, and so far the reports are stellar: this is probably the best of Cliffy B’s bunch.

It’s only appropriate, then, that I ask you guys if you’re getting it. And you tell me that you are. For great justice. So: who’s getting Gears of War 3 on Tuesday? Go!

Red Orchestra 2 Makes Me Miss Being Coddled

red orchestra 2

I picked up Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad yesterday on Steam and I spent the better part of the evening trying to play it. While I see where the game has value, and I acknowledge that if I put more time into it I might come to enjoy it, I understand why games like Call of Duty and Battlefield are so aggressively player friendly.

Truth be told, I probably did myself a disservice by jumping straight into multiplayer, but when such a big deal had been made about the online environment in the first game I figured it would be prudent to check out the meat of the game. It wasn’t until I bled to death in the first four seconds and couldn’t figure out how to respawn that I realized that Red Orchestra 2 really wasn’t going to hold my hand. At all.

After being sniped from all over the map and bleeding everywhere, I thought that the single-player would have a decent tutorial, which I also managed to fail. Red Orchestra 2 has bullet drop physics, so you need to adjust your sights to account for gravity’s effect on your leaden projectile. I made it all the way to the sniper rifle before I started getting frustrated with it and quit. I tried multi for another few minutes but the brutal health system meant that everyone in my game just spent the entire time camping and any room or area that didn’t have at least three walls to hide behind became a kill zone.

To be fair, Red Orchestra 2 does some really cool things like first person cover and making you weigh your gun’s magazine or clip to decide whether or not to reload, but playing it made me really appreciate how much some games do to help you out. While I don’t like to think I’m a console noob, I really started to miss some of the things I take for granted like crosshairs, heads-up displays and, forgive me, regenerating health.

Has anyone else been playing Red Orchestra and do you have any tips on how to survive? Do you just want to laugh at me? Go!

3DS Final Fantasy’s Rhythm Is Going To Get You

“Hey, Anthony, did you hear about the new Final Fantasy game for the 3DS?”

“No, why? If it’s another stupid Crystal Chronicles, don’t even tell me. I can’t live with the disappointment.”

“It’s not. It’s actually a rhythm game, sort of like Elite Beat Agents, but with Final Fantasy characters and music. It’s called Theatrhythm.”

(Stunned silence) “Is there a video?”

“Why, yes, right here…”

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

“Oh…my…GOD! Did you see Ultros from Final Fantasy VI? And the awesome boss theme? And the dance scene from FF VIII? And that annoying song from FF XIII that somehow makes me still want to go back and play it? Why is this the first game for the 3DS I MUST HAVE???”

“Because you’re a sick and twisted FF fanboy who’s iPod is filled with this crap already.”

“Fair enough.” (Throws wallet at PC)

So…what do you guys think? Am I a moron for thinking this might actually be cool? Or is it just the nostalgia of that sweet FF music that is calling to me?