Open-world games are hugely popular. Ever since Grand Theft Auto III, it seems most franchises try to take a stab at it at least once, with mixed results. The masters of the genre are the ones that give you so many things to do that you become paralyzed by the freedom of choice. Although sometimes this can be a good thing. If everything is fun, then maybe you just do whatever is nearest to you, until eventually you have done it all.
The point is, there are many ways to approach open-world games. Grand Theft Auto V is drawing close and I will be anxious to see if they are able to give us enough tasks to keep us busy, as they failed to do in GTA IV. I am currently playing Fallout: New Vegas in the meantime and I am taking a slightly different approach to the game than I have in the past. When I play Skyrim, Oblivion or Fallout 3, I tend to avoid the main quest as much as possible, doing all the side tasks that I can until I am suddenly weary of the game and then I race through the main story as fast as possible before the game drives me insane. Continue reading An Open-World Game Draws Near! Command?
September is the official first month of Fall and with it comes the official start of blockbuster games season. It’s not overflowing with gaming goodness and there is a legitimate reason that we can point to: Grand Theft Auto V. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Check the list and poll of games below and then meet me after the jump to discuss September’s offerings in further detail:
Continue reading Pixel Count: Most Anticipated September Release
The Steam Summer Sale has come and gone, leaving only empty wallets and frantic gamers in its wake. We all know summer is the best time for working on the old backlog and I hope you’ve made some progress on yours because the summer drought is about to end in a big way. August is actually home to one of the most talked about games of the year, Saint’s Row IV. In case you didn’t know, it’s going to be my choice for the poll below. So let’s take a look at the poll first and then talk about what other games are coming out after the break:
Continue reading Pixel Count: Most Anticipated August Release
I couldn’t finish The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In fact, I could barely start it. I played for 3 hours, entered the first dungeon and then paused the game while I consulted a walkthrough just to see what was in store for me. The thought of enduring all that I read made me recoil in horror. So I traded it in, which is a historic moment for me. The first console Zelda that I didn’t finish. A dark day for Anthony and a dark day for Nintendo.
You see, Zelda was always my second favorite video game franchise after Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy was the barometer for which console I would buy, but Zelda was the mark for WHEN I would buy my inevitable Nintendo console. I got a Nintendo 64 so I could play Ocarina of Time. I got the N64 Expansion Pak solely for the purpose of playing Majora’s Mask. I bought a GameCube one month before Wind Waker was released and I jumped for joy when Twilight Princess was released on GameCube AND the Wii because that meant I didn’t have to buy a Wii yet. Continue reading Skyward Sword Comes Crashing Down
After Skyrim, I thought to myself, what’s the most stressful, rage-inducing experience I could put myself through? Naturally, a trip to the DMV was my first choice but there were no appointments available. So I went with the next best thing: Dark Souls. The only difference being, with Dark Souls, there is a chance, albeit slim, that I could end up feeling good about myself.
I didn’t quite finish it back when it came out, so I deleted my save and started anew. Thankfully, my skills had not atrophied over time and I quickly cut my way through the first few areas. Even the bosses that once gave me fits found themselves bowing to my mighty sword. The rush you get when clearing an area is like few in gaming. No Achievement or Trophy has ever made me feel the sense of accomplishment that I got when I finally dropped the Capra Demon in the Lower Undead Burg. My next stop is the infamous Blighttown, an area that I have heard horror stories about.
Have you ever stopped a game for a really long period of time and when you came back, you find that you are somehow really good at it now? This happened to me with Pac-Man, as well. I sucked as a kid, but as an adult, I can usually get the high score. Just like I did during GamerSushi Weekend. Seriously, ask the guys, they will tell you. I even called it beforehand, too.
So what about you? What games have you stopped and then picked up again later without missing a beat? Have you stopped a game and then discovered when you come back to it that you have no idea how to play anymore? Do you plunge through or restart?
I finally finished Skyrim this past weekend.
Not entirely, mind you. I didn’t 100% it or anything crazy like that. But I finished what I wanted to out of it, which was the Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood and the main quest lines. I put 65 hours into it, got to level 37, plundered tons of caves, stole EVERYTHING from everyone I could and slew more than my fair share of dragons. I got more than my money’s worth out of the game. Indeed, if you do the math, I got more than an hour for every dollar I spent on it. Bethesda may be buggy, but they give you the bang for your buck.
Now though, after hours and hours of juggling weight limits (the most annoying thing about the game), arrows in knees and killing falmer, I am done. I love the game, but there comes a time when you have to put it aside for a while and I have reached that point with Skyrim. It’s such a massive game that I wish there was a 6 month moratorium on all new releases so we all could really delve deeply into its dense dungeons. I started and stopped that game several times since I bought it on Day 1, but it’s all over now. I might go back to it sometime, but no time soon, I can assure you. The biggest obstacle on my backlog is gone and I feel lighter for having it removed. On to greener pastures…like finally finishing Dark Souls…oh God.
What about you guys? Did you get your fill of Skyrim? Is there any game on your backlog that hovers over you like a scythe? What do you need to finish before the fall onslaught hits?
Giving the Internet an ego boost it did not need, Microsoft reversed their controversial polices regarding DRM and always-online as it pertains to the Xbox One, their next-gen console scheduled for release in November of this year.
Giant Bomb reported that multiple sources were suggesting that Microsoft was poised to do the mother of all walkbacks and fundamentally change their approach to used games, DRM and online requirements for the Xbox One. Shortly after that, Microsoft did in fact reveal the changes, which are highlighted below:
- The Xbox One does not need to be online at all with the exception of a one-time initialization during set-up.
- The Xbox One will not be required to check-in online every 24 hours.
- Disc based games will be played from the discs, the same as with the Xbox 360. Installing the game is no longer required.
- All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
- No additional restrictions on trading games or lending discs
- Xbox One will be region-free.
Continue reading Xbox One Does a 180 on DRM, Online Requirements
E3 has come and the Big 3 have shown us what they have in store for us over the coming months. There has been so much news, updates, retractions, clarifications and denials that it is kind of hard to keep track of everything. Still, this has been an eventful E3, one where the details of two new consoles were revealed, where fanboys waged war and where Nintendo did whatever it is they do. Microsoft brought the games, Sony brought the Internet to its feet and Nintendo brought its beloved franchises.
So now that we have a clearer picture of what Microsoft and Sony are going to do with their next gen systems, it only makes sense to take a poll of our loyal readers and find out where your current desires lie. A lot can change between now and release but it seems reasonable to assume that some of you have made up your minds. So tell us in the poll below which system you plan on doing your gaming in the near future. Please leave the reasons for your vote in the comments!
The Nintendo 3DS has had some great games in the past few months with one of the most notable being Fire Emblem Awakening. Having a love-affair with strategy games and being a Fire Emblem virgin, I was anxious to delve into the game and see what all the fuss was about.
The story of Fire Emblem is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts off in an interesting, if cliched fashion: your custom avatar wakes up in a field with amnesia. Now, I know what you’re thinking but stick with me, the story gets better. Having been found by Chrom, the prince of the kingdom of Ylissia, and his companions, you help them in defending the countryside from marauders, eventually joining them in the greater struggles that await. These struggles range from demonic Risen to all manner of political intrigue and attemped coups. Chrom’s sister rules the kingdom and he enforces her rule, but there are neighboring nations that have nefarious plans of their own, all of which give you a reason to do what you do best: fight some battles and kick some ass. The story encompasses everything from bandits to time travel to world-ending dragons, so there should be something in here that appeals to everyone. Continue reading Review: Fire Emblem Awakening
We’re going to be hit hard with Xbox One news in the coming weeks so today I wanted to offer a momentary respite from that with something that fascinates us all: EVE Online.
EVE Online is the most interesting, intimidating, exciting and possibly most mundane game that most of us have never played. Many of us will never play it, but the awe-inspiring stories that are generated from the MMO are the stuff of legends. The tales of epic battles, years-long subterfuge and stunning betrayals have left us all stunned at one time or another. It’s kind of amazing that such amazing things are happening practically under our noses. The density of the game prevents many from playing it, but those who do find themselves part of a unique community. And the hallmark event of that community is Fanfest.
Patrick Klepek and Drew Stanton of Giant Bomb traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland for Fanfest. Iceland has a population 319,000. To give that some meaning, my hometown of Tampa, FL has 349,000 people, so an entire country with less people than that honestly boggles my mind. But it is from this tiny nation that CCP, the creators of EVE, hail. EVE has about 500,000 active users and 1,400 of those users made the trip to Fanfest as well. Kind of staggering to think of more people play the game than live in the country that gave birth to it. Continue reading EVE Online’s Fanfest Is A Learning Experience
It’s no wonder why licensed games sell well: even as I was still sat in the theater watching Iron Man 3, I thought to myself, “Man, I really want to play a good Iron Man game!”
It’s fun to think about: what weapons and abilities you could use, whether the suit would take cosmetic damage or whether there is enough money in the world to get Robert Downey Jr to voice act in the game (spoiler: there isn’t). Not to mention what villains would appear, what the structure of the game would be, etc… There is a lot to juggle in something like this. I personally think an open-world game, like Infamous or Arkham City would be best. Just think of it like Far Cry 3 or Mercenaries: give me a big open world, lots of things to do and let me play. Maybe even throw in some War Machine for 2-player co-op goodness and it can’t miss! Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Who Should Make An Iron Man Game?
Last week’s revelation that EA had acquired the exclusive rights from Disney to develop new Star Wars games was only the first drop in what is likely to be a slow trickle as new information slowly comes to light. Today, our Bothan spies have returned with more news regarding EA’s intentions towards the fabled franchise.
As reported last week, Bioware, DICE and Visceral are the 3 EA studios being granted first crack at the galaxy far, far away. Of those 3 though, it appears DICE is the flyboy who gets to go into the garbage chute first. EA just opened DICE LA (no, my caps lock is not stuck) in, you guessed it, Los Angeles. The studio will be “a key cog” in its Star Wars plans and is located very close to Activision, with a clear purpose: Continue reading EA Opens Star Wars-Focused DICE LA Studio
I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?
But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking. Continue reading Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem
It’s the last day of April and with it comes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which is the likely winner of this month’s poll. Before that, let’s look at last’s month poll real fast to see who won: Injustice! The DC Comic fighting game won the hearts and minds of our readers in a somewhat anemic month. Did anyone play Injustice? I tried the demo and found it to be about what I expected, which is a lot like the last Mortal Kombat. Not like that is a bad thing, but I already got my fill of that a few years back.
So here’s what we have lined up for May, kids:
Continue reading Pixel Count: Most Anticipated May Release
I am done with Ni No Kuni.
No, I haven’t finished it. I’m just done with it. After stopping for a month to play Bioshock Infinite (twice) and Tomb Raider, the thought of going back to Ni No Kuni was enough to make my body recoil in revulsion. I wasn’t sure why, but I had a similar feeling when I stopped Ni No Kuni the first time in order to play Dead Space 3. But once I started playing again, I found it surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of things. I put 24 hours into it before I took my month-long break.
But just like last time, I decided to throw it back into the old PS3 and see if my sudden aversion to the game would dissipate once I got going again. It didn’t. The moment I started playing I wanted to stop. The first battle I got into was literally the last battle I ever wanted to play in this game, which I think is the crux of the problem. I love the characters, the world and the story, but the battle system, while tolerable for the first 20 or so hours, just suddenly hit a wall for me. I love everything else about this game except for the battle system. I thought back to some of the tedious boss battles I had been through and I knew I didn’t want any part of that again. In the end, they were more of a chore than enjoyable. Continue reading Ni No More Kuni For Me
One on the unquestioned traditions for gamers is preordering. No one asks if you preordered something but where you preordered it. What bonuses did you get, etc… Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy and even Steam will routinely shower gamers with gifts in order to secure those advance sales. Some of the bonuses, like early access to a shotgun, are dumb extras that aren’t worth the effort. Others, like a free copy of a related game, are enough to make you question your own intelligence if you DON’T preorder the game.
But after the disappointment of Assassin’s Creed 3 and the still-ongoing disaster that is SimCity, my question to you is this: why do you preorder? What drives you to spend money before you can use the item that you bought? Is it the aforementioned bonuses? Is it simply a habit now, ingrained in our buying rituals so much that we don’t even question why we are forking over money before we can confirm the game is actually worth it? Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Preorder?
I’ve played a lot of games in my time. And in those games I’ve stomped on, shot at and slashed my way through millions of different enemies. Some were cute, like the Goombas and Koopa Troopas. Some were ugly like Abobo in Double Dragon and the Flood in Halo. But it didn’t matter: adorable or hideous, I slew them all and moved on to the next one.
But lately I’ve been feeling a bit of fatigue in games, specifically the ones that don’t seem to try anything new and just throw the same tired tropes at us in the hopes that we’ve become too numb to care. Zombies when they want gore, robots when they don’t. Ninjas when it’s time for stealth and Nazis when they want a clear delineation between good and evil. Terrorists when they want a modern game and aliens when its time to go back to the future. I am weary of it all.
But I shook myself from this apathy and decided to poll our esteemed readers on what common video game enemy you would love to never have to face again:
Continue reading Pixel Count: What Enemy Needs To Retire?
Coming off Bioshock Infinite, I was anxious to start Tomb Raider, a game I have had my eye on since the first E3 reveal way back when. But once I started, there was one big problem: I just couldn’t get into it. There were a number of reasons for this: I was tired, I was trying to get in a little more WWE ’13 before trading it in and I had a pretty busy week with lots of “real life” obstacles getting in the way. I liked what I played, but being only able to play in 20-30 minute sessions a night wasn’t allowing me to get invested in Lara Croft and her tribulations in the Dragon’s Triangle. Even during cut-scenes, I found myself checking Twitter instead of paying attention.
But, as I knew it would, the game finally grabbed me this past weekend, when I was able to play for a few hours in one sitting. Little things like upgrading your weapons, exploring the areas and the really fun use of the bow managed to reel me in and after one gorgeous and harrowing sequence where Lara must climb an insanely tall radio tower, I am now riveted. The mystery of the island and how Lara overcomes these dangerous situations have got me playing through the story at a fairly decent clip now. The voice acting is great, with perhaps the exception of Whitman, who’s characterization just feels out of place with the rest of the cast and the gameplay is tight. Continue reading Pushing Through in Tomb Raider
One of the many complaints I have with video game journalism is there is no follow-through. A game is announced, followed by rumors, speculation, then a hands-on preview and finally, the long-awaited review. Maybe, just maybe, there will be an interview with the developers or some type of feature written after the game has been released, but rarely does anyone delve deeply into the inner workings of the actual game.
However, there are a few who do and one of them is Jeremy Parish, sole survivor of the many layoffs and closings at 1Up. Jeremy, like many of us, keeps his own blog, Telebunny (http://telebunny.net/toastyblog/) formerly known as Gamespite. In addition to a hefty archive of great game writings, there is a section that I want to shine our spotlight on today: Anatomy of a Game. Anatomy of a game is a careful look at game mechanics and how they relate to the player as given by the designer. I will let Jeremy explain himself: Continue reading Anatomy of a Game
Hype. It has been the pitfall of many a game and it can appear at anytime from any number of sources. An amazing trailer, such as Dead Island. A genius auteur, like Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear Solid series. A storied franchise, like Final Fantasy. All have been the focal point of an intense wave of hype and anticipation and all, at various points, have failed to live up to the near-unattainable level of quality that the gaming masses expected.
The almost-ravenous desire for Bioshock Infinite stems from all three of the sources mentioned above. At E3 in 2010, a clever trailer brought the world’s eye upon the game for the first time. Ken Levine, the man behind the first Bioshock, itself heralded as one of the greatest achievements in gaming, was back with a brand new game, set in a brand new world with promises to blow our minds as thoroughly as Andrew Ryan did in Rapture. Then the reviews started to come in, garnering some of the most lavish praise ever bestowed upon a video game. The hype was out of control. Surely there is no way a game can live up to this kind of fervor. Bioshock Infinite is going to disappoint us just like so many of the ones that came before.
It does not. Continue reading Review: Bioshock Infinite