Sweet, merciful heavens. Has it really been almost a year since our last Pop Quiz? My, how time flies. In my defense, the last Pop Quiz arrived about a week before my daughter did, so it’s interesting to note how little humans tend to disrupt things like, you know, writing features for a gaming site.
So, since it’s been a year since our last getting-to-know-you game, we wanted to ask some questions about the upcoming year, last year, and where your head is at as a gamer for the time being. While 2012 was certainly an interesting and fun year for gamers, 2013 looks to be no slouch, either. Already we’ve had Ni No Kuni and Devil May Cry making waves, and Dead Space 3 is just around the corner next week. Seems like we have a good opportunity here for some questions.
If you haven’t joined us for a Pop Quiz before, it’s simple. Just answer with as much or as little of an explanation as you like, and nobody will judge you. Too much. OK, scratch that, I’m always judging.
For Stop the Presses Thursday, the biggest pieces of gaming news to drop this week happened to come in the form of two trailers.
Bioshock Infinite, coming in March, is a game that I can’t quite seem to peg. It’s well documented that the original Bioshock didn’t quite grab me the way it grabbed everyone else, even though I was appreciative of its dark atmosphere and its art design. Meanwhile, Infinite’s city in the sky, Columbia, is almost the opposite of Rapture in terms of its look and feel, even if its dark underbelly is similar in theme.
This newest Infinite trailer highlights the secrets of Columbia, and gives us a bit more info about the story. This game is tempting me something fierce, guys.
Achievements have definitely had a huge impact on the way I play games. A few years ago I played Oblivion well past the point of enjoyment because I knew for a fact that if I just played long enough I could get all of the achievements. It’s still the only game I’ve ever managed to 100%, but there have been several other times I’ve come close. Achievement hunting appeals to the obsessive collector in me, and if I don’t burn out on a game, I’m usually more than willing to spend a few hours after the endgame running around trying to do the oftentimes arbitrary tasks required to make them unlock.
That said, it didn’t surprise me to read designer Keith Burgun’s article about how achievements negatively affect gameplay. Burgun argues that “at their best, [achievements] do nothing at all. At their worst, they influence player behavior.” Now, I’m sure we all have stories of achievement hunters ruining multiplayer games. After all, if there’s an achievement for getting X kills with a knife in multiplayer, the end result is that you’re going to have a bunch of dudes running around trying to stab each other whether or not it actually makes tactical sense. It’s easy to see how achievements could negatively influence player behaviors when it comes to playing with a group of people, but what’s the big deal when it comes to playing solo? Continue reading Achievements: Unlocking Negative Gameplay?
As goofy as it sounds, one of my favorite parts about any RPG is watching my damage number creep up as I progress through the game. Whether this number is ratcheting upward through new equipment or because I’ve hit a new level seems to matter little — what matters is that sweet, sweet damage total. I get kind of addicted to it. This is most evident in Borderlands 2 (which we’ll be streaming tonight), a game that bombards you with more numbers than a Mathletics competition, both in and out of combat. Continue reading Crunching the RPG Numbers
We don’t get many thinking man’s games these days. It’s usually shoot first, ask questions never, and maybe occasionally press X to interact while the really cool stuff happens in QTEs or cut scenes. But XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a different kind of animal for a different kind of gamer. Of all things, XCOM is the most taxing on your brain — and sometimes your heart. Continue reading Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Here in America we are busy preparing for the Super Bowl on Sunday. It’s an unofficial holiday in these parts with plenty of food, football and commercials. Even people who don’t watch football tune in for the spectacle. There is a tradition where EA simulates the Super Bowl using Madden NFL and that got me to thinking about what sports are best when played on a video game.
Without a doubt, Madden is the most popular, but is it the best? Hockey, free from the constant breaks in gameplay and offering a flowing experience has always been my favorite sport to experience through video games. Soccer and basketball are largely similar to hockey and are a blast to play for the same reasons. Even racing games seem like they would translate better than football, yet Madden outsells them all, much to the annoyance of some who feel that it is the same experience every year.
So that leads to the poll question: what is the best video game sport to play? Vote below and leave a comment stating your reasons for your vote. Play ball!
To continue our theme of What We’re Playing Monday, I thought I’d take us on a dismal tour of my future, one in which I gain 100 pounds, lose my job and become a hermit that only plays Sim City.
OK, so maybe the future isn’t set in stone yet, but seeing as how much I enjoyed my time in the closed beta this weekend, there’s certainly some kind of dark timeline where all of this takes place. Although, considering how much fun the game is, maybe it’s not necessarily a dark time line after all? Continue reading Sim City and the Nature of Addiction
I grew up playing the old X-Wing game for the PC and it’s been sad for me to see that genre fall out of favor with gamers at large. True, that game was perhaps a little too complicated, but even simple space combat games have been few and far between the last couple of years.
Born Ready Games, with a Kickstarter backing, has decided to reboot the space combat genre and bring us Strike Suit Zero, a game for the PC that has not only spaceship dog-fighting but also lets you pilot a kick-ass mecha. Yes, you read that right: about an hour and a bit into the game, you get access to a Strike Suit, a prototype fighter that has the secondary function of transforming into a giant robot.
The controls for the game a pretty straightforward: as a fighter you get plasma cannons, a machine gun and a variety of missiles. Using the machine gun to strip the shields of enemy fighters and finishing them off with your plasma cannons keeps your fingers busy and doesn’t make you reliant on one weapon as the plasma guns tend to drain fast, especially when they’re linked. Once you get the Strike Suit, a simple tap of a button (or key, but I really recommend playing with a controller) turns your snubfighter into a death-dealing, missile spewing machine. Continue reading Bringing Back Space Combat with Strike Suit Zero
One of the most important aspects of a shooter is the weaponry, but beyond that, having a powerful, satisfying shotgun in your virtual arsenal is key. Sometimes a shotgun can make or break a game, so we’d like to ask you what your favorite video game shotgun is.
Personally, I just can’t think of a better shotgun than the M90 Close Assault Weapon System from Halo: Combat Evolved. The first time you find this beastly firearm, you’ve just encountered the Flood and are hoping for a weapon that will put down the larger combat forms in one hit. The M90 CAWS is the answer to that prayer and for the rest of the game, this scattergun will occupy one of your two precious weapon slots whether you have ammo for it or not.
Runners up would be the Gnasher from Gears of War, which can turn you into a living meatgrinder in multiplayer if you can get the hang of it, or the SPAS-12 from Battlefield 3. I recently discovered that equipping slug rounds on the SPAS-12 turns it into a one-hit kill weapon at medium range, and it requires a bit more skill than the other full-auto weapons availible.
I may be skewing kind of modern here, so I’ll pose the question to you guys one again: what is your favorite video game shotgun?
Dead Space 3 will be hitting our screens very soon, but some news about the game dropped this week that may sour your anticipation. According to Eurogamer, Dead Space 3’s new workbench, where you can custom-make your weaponry, will include a microtransaction store for buying some additional resources.
While players will still be able to scavenge the materials for themselves or use scavenger bots to gather crafting resources in-game, real-world money can always be used to circumvent the collection process. This doesn’t mean that eager players can drop a ton of cash at the beginning of the game and get all the top-tier weaponry; they still have to wait for those guns to be unlocked as part of the narrative progression.
Even though this is the first instance of microtransactions in Dead Space, giving quick boosts for cash is nothing new in EA titles. Mass Effect 3 had this, as did Battlefield 3 and I wouldn’t be surprised if SimCity has something similar. What do you guys think about this? Is this a harmless addition for those of us flush with cash but strapped for time? Is it a foul on EA’s part to try and get their mitts into your wallet after you’ve already bought the game?
If you’re captured by pirates on a tropical island halfway around the world, what do you do? According to Far Cry 3, you get some sick tribal tattoos and start stabbing. Far Cry 3 doesn’t waste much time before dropping you into an island paradise full of dangerous predators and even more dangerous pirates and mercenaries and allows you to go about your business as you see fit.
Want to be a master of stealth and roll around with a bow and a machete? Go for it. Want to trundle in with a flamethrower and a bunch of rocket-propelled grenades? Perhaps you’d like the local wildlife to do your killing for you. Far Cry 3 has so many ways to interact with the environment and your enemies that it’s almost insane. Oh, did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Continue reading Review: Far Cry 3
Man, Nintendo sure does have a bullseye right on our nostalgia bone, doesn’t it? In a totally unsurprising move, Nintendo revealed this morning (via Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma) that an HD version of Wind Waker will be releasing this fall.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Reborn is meant to tide maniacal Zelda fans over while the real Wii U game is in development, but this doesn’t just look like a straight port. Based on some of the game’s gorgeous screenshots, I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo is updating this classic game in an even more beautiful way, in addition to all these new-fangled definitions.
While it’s easy to sour on HD remakes as nothing more than the often-brandished money grab, I still stand by the position that playing a timeless game in a more future proof fashion is a good thing for video games. It’s a way to preserve some of the medium’s history, and really, I can’t think of a more excellent game for Nintendo to have done it with. Wind Waker had such a lovely style to it, I can’t wait to see it on current hardware. Once I get a Wii U, that is.
So what do you guys think? Are you yay or nay on a Wind Waker HD? And seriously, check out the Wii U Facebook page for more awesome screenshots.
First off, I should admit that I missed the boat on the Devil May Cry series when it was first released. I wasn’t much of a gamer during the PS2 era, so I didn’t pick up the original trilogy until I rented the HD compilation a few months ago. I didn’t play them for too long, but my impression was that they hadn’t aged well. The controls were old-fashioned and the dialogue was cringeworthy. Accordingly, I don’t really have any built-in expectations when it comes to DmC, the franchise reboot released last week.
In the anonymous email, our trickster pretends to be a Microsoft employee on the Xbox team, when in reality he doesn’t work for the software giant. The email about the X-Surface contains just enough information about the Xbox 720 to appear legit, and several sites ran with it, including VG247, NowGamer and Venturebeat. While all the sites have updated their original posts acknowledging the hoax, it still points to the “post now fact check never” mentality that some sites have.
I understand that in an industry dominated by pageviews, being first with a hot piece of news, especially about the upcoming consoles, is a priority, but sometimes this can backfire. Gaming websites are so hungry for hits that they’ll gobble up fake news and spit it back out without a second thought. If you’re looking for a response from someone on the inside that isn’t all about shaming journalists, Ben Kuchera over at the Penny-Arcade Report has a thoughtful comment about this whole hubbub.
Welcome to Did You See This Wednesday! As part of the GamerSushi Schedule, it is my duty to bring you cool stuff that you might have missed while you were looking at pictures of Grumpy Cat. And if you have any new ones, send them to me.
Today, we aren’t bringing you an article, we are showcasing an entire website, one that I have spent way too many hours on: Hardcore Gaming 101. HG101, as we like to call it, is a site devoted to educating people about retro games and also maybe getting them interested in something they might not even know about. The site is exhaustively well-researched, with tons of screenshots, artwork and information. I have described it as “The Wikipedia of Retro Games” and I think that is an accurate description. On top of that, it’s pretty hilarious to read as well. Just take a look at this description of why Edward from Final Fantasy IV would never work in a modern FF game: Continue reading The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101
Every generation represents a new set of hurdles for the medium (or art, if you’re feeling fancy) of video gaming. In the current generation — and yes, I do include PC games in this — I think the most obvious hurdles we’ve cleared have to do with graphics, the ease of connectivity and huge, immersive universes. Within the last few years, it’s easier to play with friends than ever before, or even talk to them across games. I can share games with them on Steam or track their progress through PSN or XBL. Games like Skyrim, Borderlands 2 and Arkham City have given us amazing, huge worlds that we can interact with, and feel like we’re a part of. The Uncharted series and Red Dead Redemption have given us high-caliber storytelling and some memorable vocal performances.
But do I think all of these things are perfect? Not by any stretch. The medium still has plenty of growing up to do in terms of what it can achieve, in any number of arenas. Today’s Pixel Count poll is a big one, representing what I think are the biggest hurdles that gaming still has in front of it.
So, if we’re entering the next generation soon, which of these do you think is the most important issue, from a player’s perspective? Vote and tell us what you think in the comments!
New IPs are increasingly rare as this console cycle stretches on and on. It’s not something I fully understand, as more people than ever have 360s and PS3s, so one would think the risk of funding a game based on a new property would be much lower, but then again, what do I know?
Thankfully, Bethesda feels differently and thus has unleashed Dishonored upon the world. Developed by Arkane Studios, which features the talents of one of the original Deus Ex developers, it is a mix of Bioshock, Thief and Deus Ex, all rolled into one package. Onward to the review! Continue reading Review: Dishonored
I love stealth games, but they tend to stress me out. The idea of sneaking around without getting caught always tends to add a pile of burdens on top of me, like the game is judging me if I fail, and will punish me with extra waves of enemies should I find a way of royally fracking things up.
And while most stealth games do a poor job at making stealth just as fun as the shooting counterpart (or throw out a poor attempt at both), FarCry 3 makes sneaking around exciting, challenging and maybe even more fun than mowing down bands of pirates with an assault rifle or rocket launcher. This is mostly accomplished through an excellent skill system that rewards you for stealth kills and chaining takedowns together for some brutal, silent mayhem. It adds a dash of style to a mechanic that is normally slow and methodic, even in a (mostly traditional) first person shooter.
It’s always refreshing to play a new twist on a familiar game mechanic, and FarCry 3 does this in a number of ways. Because of this empowerment, FarCry 3 doesn’t make me nearly as nervous to play in a stealthy manner, and it’s making the game all the more fun for me. I’m not fretting about getting spotted, but rather, given just the right tools to adapt — and have a blast doing it.
How do you guys normally feel about stealthy gameplay mechanics? Do you tend to sneak around or come into a situation guns playing? What are some of your favorite stealth games? Go!
So for this week’s “What We’re Playing” Monday, I’m taking us back to the Before Times, the Long-Long Ago, to November 2011 and the world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Because the release schedule between December and now is a bit dry, I decided to go back and actually try and beat the latest entry in Nintendo’s fantasy series. While reviews for Skyward Sword were pretty phenomenal across the board back in the day, I’m finding the game to be a rather middling experience.
That’s not to say that Skyward Sword is bad, per se, and it’s certainly a small step up from its predecessor, Twilight Princess. While the motion controls do work well on occasion, most of the enemies are a little too stalwart in their defenses with very little room to get a strike in, leaving you waiting for an opening that you won’t hit if the controls decide to go wonky on you. The boss monster design is pretty comical, especially the man-boobed tentacle monster, which is a shame because Zelda bosses have typically been memorable and intimidating. The secondary bad guy, Ghirahim, seems to indulge in certain design tendencies that Zelda has previously managed to avoid. Perhaps one of the most annoying small things the game does is to do the introduction of crafting items every time you pick them up when you load a save. Continue reading Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road
The GamerSushi Show is back for your listening pleasure two weeks in a row! Crazy, right? Unfortunately neither myself or Nick could make the cast this week, but that doesn’t mean that Eddy, Anthony and Jeff didn’t have enough to talk about on their own.
After going over a couple of 2012’s late entries, the guys talk about the upcoming games of 2013 and whether or not we’ll actually see the next gen this year (signs point to yes). There’s much more nerdery in the podcast proper, so what are you waiting for? Listen, rate, comment. You know the drill.
0:00 – 2:06 Intro
2:07 – 10:28 Hotline Miami
10:29 – 16:10 GamerSushi Schedule
16:17 – 21:46 Far Cry 3
21:47 – 27:55 GS Staff Personal Top 10 of 2012
27:56 – 31:50 Ni No Kuni
31:51 – 36:26 2013 and the Next Gen
36:27 – 48:58 The Games of 2013, January to May
48:59 – 52:21 Outro