Call of Duty is, without a doubt, the most popular online FPS game of our time. Millions of people have played it and become accustom to the mechanics, so much so to the point where if you want to make a successful shooter, you have to ape the way CoD plays and feels to a certain degree.
In the midst of some of the crazy “controversies” (and I use that term loosely) that discuss the role of sexism in gaming culture and the industry at large — including the frothing attacks that were leveled against Anita Sarkeesian for daring to study the role of women in video games (the first video is fantastic, by the way), the bumbled PR about Tomb Raider, and the “Bros Before Hos” trophy in God of War — it’s nice to get a more touching story about why all of this stuff actually matters.
Mike Mika, a former video game designer for Atari, recently took up a “father of the year” level quest to please his 3 year old daughter when he realized how sad she was that she couldn’t play as Pauline, the princess in Donkey Kong, in order to save Mario. Mike, being a knowledgeable sort of dude, set to some pretty impressive work. Continue reading Pleasing the Princess: Hacking Donkey Kong
Between Sim City, and the new announcement of Assassin’s Creed 4, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way gamers set and manage their own expectations when it comes to new games.
The disappointment for Sim City comes from knowing that a ridiculously good game might be lying beneath the surface of some extremely frustrating mechanical issues. From the servers not working (I was put into a 20 minute queue last night in the middle of a session) to the ancient-feeling social interactions, and some of the really odd rules of gameplay (too-small cities and some unhelpfully helpful Sim guides), I’m disappointed because Sim City might be a masterpiece completely stepping on its own feet.
With Assassin’s Creed 3, I felt a little lured into a game that was ultimately a total bomb. From carefully selected vertical slices of gameplay for hands-on previews to unbelievably cleverly edited trailers, Assassin’s Creed 3 looked set to put the series back to what it was with Brotherhood, while simultaneously striking out in a bold, new direction. What we got instead was a total mess, and it made me evaluate the way I take in my gaming news, which I’m already pretty strict about to begin with. Needless to say, I won’t be excited about AC4 anytime soon.
So I figured for today’s poll I’d ask you guys where you derive most of your expectations for upcoming games. Hit up the poll, and then the comments!
Time for another edition of Random Encounters, where I share my thoughts on a variety of subjects that are currently on my mind:
1. I have no proof and only baseless Internet speculation, but I can’t help but wonder if Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was originally a side-story like the Ezio trilogy and was rebranded as a numbered sequel in order to take people’s mind off the bitter disappointment that was Assassin’s Creed 3. It just seems odd that the AC 4 is in roughly the same time period and is a prequel, which means it might not even forward the Desmond story set in the future. We will have to wait and see, but if that is the case, it’s kind of disgusting, akin to Square Enix allegedly releasing Final Fantasy Versus XIII as Final Fantasy XV. Continue reading Random Encounters III
Sonic games past the Genesis era have always had one problem: you never just play as Sonic, running through an obstacle course. Sonic Generations fixed this issue by giving us old and new Sonic to play around with, but for every other game your Sonic fix is wedged in between digging for Emeralds, piloting a mech, or fishing.
Sonic Dash for the iOS distills Sonic down to its basic gameplay tenets and by getting rid of all that other junk that’s built up over the years, it manages to be simple and most importantly, fun. In the game, Sonic runs forward while you dodge roadblocks and baddies by swiping the screen. Collecting rings fills up your boost meter which you can use to run even faster, breaking through everything in your path. Rings are then banked and can be used to buy upgrades. The game is over when you slam into something or fall off the course.
As the levels go on, the things in your way come quicker and thicker, meaning you have to be fast with your fingers if you want to succeed. Adimittedly, some of the environments are pretty stale and the game does have microtransactions, but for $1.99 you can have a few hours of good old fashioned Sonic fun.
I recommend Sonic Dash highly, so check it out if you’re so inclined.
I’m one of the lucky few that has managed to put in some decent time with Simcity. This makes me both a target of envy, admiration and hatred for certain people, but I am okay with that. It hasn’t been a smooth ride the entire way so far, but I’ve managed to keep my cool and have a lot of fun with it.
But what strikes me as problematic is the size of the land you are given on which to build your city. It’s small. This is nothing new: it has been a concern for quite a while, going back to early previews of the game. But here we are, not even a week out and my city’s space is at capacity, with a population of just over 50,000. Granted, this is my first attempt at a city and I imagine the next attempt will be more efficient and better suited to increasing the population, but I can’t help but wonder if the smaller cities is a detriment to the overall experience. Continue reading Simcity’s Sudden Stop
You guys are pretty fun to play games with. Over the last month or so, we’ve tackled both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 as an army of Sushians. Now, we want to kick things a bit old school with Goldeneye: Source.
The best thing about Goldeneye: Source is that it’s free, so that gives more people the opportunity the chance to join in on the N64-ish mayhem on the GS server. First, be sure to download the game, which will require a download of Source SDKBase2007 in order to work correctly. Don’t worry, the game will ask you to install it when you try to run it.
We’ll be playing next weekend. To sign up, simply leave a comment below about whether or not you’d be down to game with us, and what day would be best for you. We’ll do our best to accommodate. You can also hit up our GS Steam Group and keep an eye on the event, once the night/time is determined.
So, who’s in?
Update: This is happening tonight, 3/16, at 10PM CST! Be sure to download the game and join us then!
Update 2: We’re about to start! IP is: 188.8.131.52:27015
With Dead Space 3 firmly in our rear view mirror, Anthony and I thought it would be a good idea to give the series a send-off in podcast form. This is something we’re looking in to doing more of as a site where we dedicate an episode to our favorite games or series, so let us know what you think.
Fair warning, as we’re talking the Dead Space series as a whole, this podcast will contain a ton of spoilers for every game in the franchise, so beware if you haven’t played them yet. Also, I’d like to apologize up from about the stress my microphone put on my “s” sounds. What you’re hearing is after I’ve tried to reduce the noise, so you can image how painful it was at first.
Anyways, listen to the podcast, rate the podcast and be sure to leave any parting thoughts on Dead Space if you wish. Until next time!
So you guys might have heard about this game called Sim City that came out this week. Apparently lots of people are playing it, and everything that EA has done with the launch has been so brilliant that people are throwing parades for it, both in their game’s city streets and in real life. It’s being heralded as the way to do a launch right, and a bastion of hope for how to do an “always online” DRM.
OK, none of that is true. At all. In fact, lots of people can’t even play the game yet.
In what might have been a worse launch disaster than Diablo III, Sim City points to a somewhat grim future for “always online” single player games on the PC. The game’s servers have been so overloaded that people are having trouble playing, saving cities, seeing their friends and more. In fact, EA is having to turn off features that supposedly made “always online” necessary in the first place, just to help people connect. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Sim City’s Launch Woes?
After six years and hundreds of over-taxed PCs, the Crysis series is coming to a head with its third installment. Running on a new version of the CryEngine, the latest entry in the franchise takes you back to New York to finally unravel the mystery of the Ceph and the nature of their connection to the main character, Prophet.
Seems that this last week has been pretty slow for gaming news, so we only have the premier trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to show you today. While it’s all pre-rendered, as is the way with Ubisoft’s announcement trailers for Assassin’s Creed, it does get me hyped for the game against my better judgement. In Black Flag, you’ll be playing as Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3 and protagonist Connor’s grandfather. In the trailer, infamous pirate Blackbeard gives us an introduction to our new assassin.
This seems a little odd for the series, as pirate and assassin don’t really mix, but I’m down for it. Apparently the game world is an open ocean with a few major ports and a lot of little islands to explore. So far I’m down with Assassin’s Creed IV, but I’m definitely waiting for a bit after release before I buy it. What say you? Are you on board with Assassin’s Creed IV? Did the trailer work its magic on you?
I promise I’m not trying to make weekly videos a theme, but it was hard to resist the idea of showing you guys these two music-themed videos. And seeing as how one is related to Bioshock Infinite, a game that many of you are pumped about, and the other is related to Journey, which I feel has one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time, I didn’t think you all would mind.
The first video is a brief clip of two of Bioshock Infinite’s actors, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, singing an old spiritual song that appears in the game, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This is a classic song, and I love the time period that it establishes Columbia in. It’s a lovely duet, and it’s pretty cool that it appears in the game.
Today at Penny Arcade Report, Ben Kuchera interviews Rhianna Pratchett, writer of the Tomb Raider reboot (and daughter of British national treasure Terry Pratchett). In the first part of the interview, they discuss the controversy surrounding the game’s PR blunders as well as Pratchett’s personal history with the Tomb Raider franchise and her approach to rebooting the game.
I especially liked her response to a question about how the reveal that she was the head writer affected perception of the game’s content:
It’s not fine because I’m a woman. It’s fine because we approached it with the right creative sentiments. It was an honest scene for those characters and that moment. It wasn’t done for titillation. It wasn’t prolonged. It was uncomfortable because it should be uncomfortable.
I played through the first two hours of Tomb Raider last night, including the controversial moment that caused so much furor, and I can attest to the fact that in context the scene isn’t at all played for titillation. The game is definitely intense and occasionally brutal – the first time Lara died, I cringed – but it’s all done in service to some of the best game writing and pacing I’ve experienced in a very long time. My heart was pounding for most of those first two hours, and it wasn’t because I was trying to “protect a woman”.
How about you? Did anyone else pick up Tomb Raider? Have you played through the controversial part of the game?
Welcome to the monthly Power Rankings, gents. If you’ll recall, we’ve changed the Power Ranking format in 2013 to reflect our current “What’s Hot” list, regardless of the year the game was released. These are the games we keep coming back to collectively, salivating as we play… OK, that last part might have been an exaggeration, although I hear Mitch does get very excited about necromorphs.
Speaking of necromorphs, 2013 is already rolling with a handful of new games that have made their appearance on this month’s Power Rankings, including Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3. Next month’s list will be even wackier in terms of shake-ups, if Anthony’s recent Pixel Count is any indication. We’ve also been dipping our toes into some older ponds, including the zany urban warfare depicted in Saint’s Row 3, as well as the magepunky slums of Midgar in Final Fantasy 7.
If you thought February was rough on your wallet, then I have some bad news for you: March is going to ruin your finances. Just to give you an idea, for the poll choices, I like to select the noteworthy games for the month and my original list was 12 and I had to trim a few off to make this thing look less like ALL the March releases.
It all begins today with Simcity and Tomb Raider, both of which are garnering stellar reviews. I plan on picking up Tomb Raider a little further down the road, but Simcity is already pre-ordered and ready to go. I literally can’t wait to start plopping buildings and building my own version of Florida in a digital form. The GamerSushi SimCity Region will never be the same once my chuckleheaded Sim-citizens start wreaking havoc.
Given that Kojima Productions couldn’t turn Metal Gear Rising into an actual game, I’m kind of surprised that Platinum Games (makers of Bayonetta) were able to take the basic premise of “Raiden slices stuff up” and make a pretty kick-ass title.
Taking place about four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden is back in his cyborg body, working for Maverick Enterprises. A surprise attack on a convoy he’s protecting leads to him adopting an even more powerful cyborg frame and vowing to get revengeance on those who wronged him (such as Jetstream Sam, and yes, that face is even better when you see it in-game).
Revengeance is a serious departure from the stealth-oriented gameplay of the MGS titles; when you hear the iconic Alert sound “!”, you know it’s time to leap into action, as opposed to running and hiding. Raiden can chop up foes with a light or heavy attack, and you can use the new Zan-Datsu mode to slice foes open and steal their spines, which allows you to heal yourself on the fly (more accurately it’s a container of repairing nano-paste as opposed to a spine, but that doesn’t sound as cool).
Admittedly, I’m having a lot more fun with Revenageance than I thought I would. These types of beat-em-ups aren’t usually my cup of tea, but Metal Gear Rising is so bonkers I can’t help but be drawn in. I did reach a pretty serious road-block last night with some enemies that run counter to the mechanics that you’ve been taught up to that point, but I’m eager to jump back in. Has anyone else played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance? What do you think? Anyone going to pick it up?
As many of you may know, I am the proud owner of a new gaming PC, so naturally I’ve been digging through my backlog of Steam games to put the new machine through its paces. Thanks to various sales, I have a pretty sizable collection of games despite not having a rig worthy of running them until now. One of the games I’ve been playing the most is Saints Row: The Third, which I bought as part of the THQ Humble Bundle. The funny thing, though, is that I didn’t buy the bundle thinking I’d end up playing much Saints Row; it was more that I’m a sucker for a sale price and thought some of the other games in the bundle might be worth checking out.
Part of the fun of my new machine is launching games and seeing how they run with all settings maxed out, so I spent most of one Saturday launching one game after another and playing with the settings. Much to my surprise, Saints Row is actually a gorgeous game, especially on the highest settings. Once that sank in, I realized that I was also having a hell of a lot of fun playing the opening set piece during a bank robbery gone wrong. Pretty soon after that, the game had its hooks in me, and I ended up playing it for a good six hour session the following weekend.
Welcome back to The GamerSushi Show! We’re releasing these at a fairly decent clip, aren’t we? You’d think with how dry the gaming industry has been news wise recently we’d have nothing to talk about every week, but here we are again, invading your media players.
It’s another three man team, but this time in the usual combination of Eddy, Jeff and Anthony. They may be lacking Nick and myself, but they still manage to have a rousing conversation anyways. They talk about some older games then launch into Ni no Kuni and next Tuesday’s Tomb Raider, then they talk news which includes the announcement of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and the fact that those scamps over at EA are continuing with microtransactions for the next gen.
0:00 – 0:54 Intro
0:55 – 3:54 Nick Hates The Walking Dead
3:55 – 13:52 Jeff’s Steam Box and Saint’s Row 3
13:53 – 20:11 Far Cry 3
20:12 – 27:03 Ni no Kuni
27:04 – 34:51 Tomb Raider
34:52 – 37:51 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
37:52 – 50:38 EA microtransactions and Xbox successor deal
50:39 – 54:40 Next gen budgets
54:41 – 56:42 Outro
It seems like everywhere I turn, people are talking about the importance of story and emotion in video games. I know that I get sucked into that, too, partially because some of the most meaningful games that I’ve played have had some stellar stories. Games like The Walking Dead, Uncharted 2, a number of Final Fantasies and more have stuck with me longer than most.
The other day, Anthony, Jeff and I were talking about stories in games, and how it’s funny that gamers will excuse even the most absurd stories in favor of excellent gameplay. Far Cry 3, for instance, had a ridiculous premise and a story which made little sense, but I never really cared because the setting and the game itself were so much fun. Likewise, I can’t say I’ve ever been completely invested in the stories of games like Gears of War or even most of the Halo titles. Even Ni No Kuni, a game that I adore at the moment, has a pretty so-so story. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Story Versus Setting?